What is a scared meditation altar?
A meditation altar is a sacred space set aside for the purpose of meditation and spiritual practice. It serves as a focal point for connecting with one's spiritual practice and inner self.
The altar can also be a way to show respect and gratitude to the Buddhist teachers or a lineage, and also serves as a way to cultivate positive emotions and develop a deeper understanding of the path.
Creating a designated meditation space can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a daily meditation practice.
Home Meditation Altar Checklist:
✅ Quiet and uncluttered spot, possibly near a window with a view of nature
✅ Little table, or bench
✅ Altar cloth, or fabric
✅ Main sacred item such as a statue or a picture of a loved one, guru, or teacher
✅ A statue stand can help to keep a Buddha statue raised above the other items
✅ Candles, incense, shells or flowers in offering bowls or incense burner
✅ Crystals, gemstones, or mala beads
Where to start
1️⃣ When beginning to create a meditation altar, the first step is to choose a suitable space in your home. It is important that the space is free from distractions and conducive to meditation and spiritual practice.
2️⃣ To create the altar itself, place a low table in front of the cushion and add a few key items. If you are creating a Buddhist altar it should include a statue or image of the Buddha, as well as symbols of the Three Jewels. The Buddha's speech, or Dharma, can be symbolized by a sacred Buddhist text, while the body of the Buddha, or Sangha, can be represented by a stupa or bell with a vajra. The enlightened mind of the Buddha can be reminded by a statuette or image of the Buddha Shakyamuni himself.
3️⃣ Next, place a comfortable cushion or mat on the floor in front of the altar. This will serve as your designated meditation spot.
4️⃣ Offerings of flowers, incense, and light can be placed on the altar as a way to show gratitude for the blessings in your life and to express your commitment to lead a mindful, compassionate life. In some Buddhist traditions, a seven-bowl set may also be placed on the altar for traditional offerings of water, candlelight and other offerings.
5️⃣ It is important to keep the altar and surrounding area clean, to create a peaceful and serene environment. You may also consider placing your meditation diary next to the altar, to write down your meditation experience after every session.
➕ Making shrine offerings is a transformative practice for cultivating generosity and an open heart. The Seven Traditional Offerings are: water, flowers, incense, light, perfume, food, and music. Additionally, you can also put a picture of your Root Guru, Buddhist deities, or sacred Tibetan writings on the altar to increase the connection with your spiritual practice.