Thoughts. Experiences. Inspiration.

My altar

July 27, 2014 0

My altar

I know my altar in the USA looks eclectic and confusing but there’s actually a reason for everything! I thought I would share it with everyone, to encourage you to have your own style of offering. Remember it’s about sincerity and not size or quantity, though we should not neglect those using sincerity as an excuse

Of course my lama Tsem Rinpoche _/|\_ is the central image, along with an image of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche _/|\_ both are in plastic frames so they’re easy and light for me to carry with me when I travel. Yes, they go everywhere with me, even if the offerings themselves do not. What better protection is there, inner and outer, than to keep your lamas close?

I offer electric candles and the reed diffuser because we can’t burn anything in our house. Since I want to offer lights (for wisdom) and scent (to always be in pleasurable, conducive environments to practice dharma), hence the candle and diffuser.

The Statue of Liberty was a Christmas gift from Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, for me to offer up everything that NYC stands for – fun, parties, pleasure, enterprise, money, sex…i.e. an offering of samsara up to the Three Jewels. It’s kind of like a mandala offering of all sensory pleasures that encourage the gross mind. With the Oscar statuette which I purchased tonight, it is my offering of all the illusions I fall for every single day. May I cut my attachments to them; may all sentient beings stop perpetuating cyclical rebirths by buying into such illusions.

The Bigfoot statuette was a gift from Rinpoche when we were in Willow Creek, as a memento of our visit to the region. I also see it as my connection to Rinpoche’s previous lives who had connections with yetis. May I always be connected with my teacher in this life and all future lives.

The serkyem to my Protector in the gau is offered for swift action and fulfilment of my wishes. I buy bottles of juice and Coke to offer, or itty bitty bottles of alcohol from time to time. The alcohol is not consumed; it is discarded immediately after offering.

The bowls of semi-precious stones are offered because I always want to have the resources to benefit others. They’re contained within mother-of-pearl shells, and a gold-plated bowl that I found in a vintage store. May I one day be able to offer actual gold to my lama and lineage lamas, and always be able to provide for their every need.

The black rice was added to my altar a couple of days ago after a trip to the grocery store. They look so damn cool (BLACK rice!!!). I’m now looking for a nice container to put them in. Once I find it, that’ll be a new addition to my altar. May all sentient beings always have bountiful harvests and access to food, and never have to suffer hunger or fear of hunger.

How long did it take me to “curate” all of this (lest you think I bought it all in one go, which I did not)? I’ve been putting this together for the last eight months, buying small handfuls of stones from time to time, or another bowl when I see it.

Funny thing is, this altar wasn’t planned at all. It just grew organically as and when I saw things I like, and especially as and when Rinpoche would encourage me to buy offerings. So having an altar near me is one thing I really can’t help, and I think it’s a good habit which I don’t mind encouraging 🙂


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