Why do We Set up a Buddhist altar?

The importance of having a Buddhist altar

As Master Lu states, having a Buddhist altar at home is extremely important as it will protect and help us to evade any calamities. In fact, having a Buddhist altar is just like having a monastery at home. Whenever you offer the daily incense, light will fill your home. 

Bodhisattva’s Presence in Your House will Bring You Great Help

If you are living in a large house but still remain reluctant to give up a small space to set up a Buddhist altar, how can you be said to be diligent in your spiritual cultivation? It is only natural for a person like this to find their recitation of scriptures inefficacious. As Bodhisattva says, having a Buddhist altar at home is just like inviting an insurmountable number of blazing lights into your home — Bodhisattva will be here to protect and bless you. However small, everyone should not hesitate to find a space for the Bodhisattva that has helped us in so many ways. After all, enshrining Bodhisattva only brings you benefits.

— Wenda20120323 32:00


The Effects of Offering Little Houses will be Greatly Improved with a Buddhist Altar at Home

Caller: Why do we need to set up a Buddhist altar?

Master Jun Hong Lu: If conditions permit, one should definitely set up a Buddhist altar and consecrate Guan Yin Bodhisattva. Setting up a Buddhist altar is equivalent to inviting Bodhisattva into your home. With a Buddhist altar, the effects of your spiritual cultivation and offering Little Houses will be greatly improved.

A Simple Buddhist Altar is Better than None

Caller: Some Buddhist friends have the experience of dreaming about Guan Yin Bodhisattva and Master Lu upon practising Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door. However, I have been cultivating for about 8 or 9 months but has yet to experience such dreams. Does this indicate that I have not been doing well in my spiritual cultivation or that I lack karmic affinity?

Master Jun Hong Lu: It depends. There may be a slight issue if you are unable to dream about Guan Yin Bodhisattva. This may indicate that you are not dedicated enough to progressing in your spiritual cultivation. Hence, Master Lu often states that the most important thing about practising Buddhism and spiritual cultivation is that one must persist in their practice. Similarly, one must not heat up water intermittently if they wish for it to reach a boiling point. 

Caller: I have yet to set up an altar at my home.

Master Jun Hong Lu: This may have an impact. Why don’t you have an altar?

Caller: This is because I am currently living in a rental apartment. 

Master Jun Hong Lu: You should set up an altar regardless of its size. Without an altar, the effects will be significantly reduced. Even if your altar is simple, Bodhisattva will be there for you. Without Bodhisattva’s presence, how will you be able to visualise Bodhisattva? Your mind is filled with scattered thoughts; it is as though the greed, anger and ignorance of the entire human realm is within your mind! Do you even have a place for Bodhisattva within your heart? With a Buddhist altar, you will be able to look at Bodhisattva and calm your mind.

Caller: Okay. Is it alright for us to use images of Bodhisattva from the Guan Yin Hall for our altar? 

Master Jun Hong Lu: Absolutely. Place images of Bodhisattva, two cups of water, an incense burner and some fruits if your conditions permit. This is definitely better than doing without an altar. You should offer incense whenever possible.

Caller: Should the altar be located by the window?

Master Jun Hong Lu: Anywhere will do. 

Caller: It doesn’t matter?

Master Jun Hong Lu: Yes. It is only an issue if you do not even have an altar.

— Wenda20130614 11:09

Buddhist Friend’s Sharing : “As Long as Situation Permits, Everyone Should Set Up a Buddhist Altar”

I would like to share with everybody on the changes I experienced after I set up a Buddhist altar and I would like to urge all of you who are listening that, as long as the situation permits, you should have an altar, even if you can only afford  a very basic one. This is because having one is going to make a huge difference to the effects of your recitation of Buddhist scriptures.

Basically, I have been performing recitation  at my workplace for the past 2 years hence, I did not know the importance of having a Buddhist altar. At that time, my husband and son did not have faith in my practice and I do not wish for them to commit verbal karma. Hence, after due consideration, I decided to postpone the idea of setting up an altar. 

For the past one year, I have been reciting 21 times of Heart Sutra for my son and I pray to Bodhisattva to grant him wisdom and allow him to have faith in Guanyin Bodhisattva. Gradually, from a person who go against the practice he transformed into someone who takes the initiative to exchange Buddhism knowledge with me.  I also started to see changes in my husband. Hence, I believed my affinity to set up a Buddhist altar has matured.

In April this year, I successfully set up the altar. On that very day the wick of the oil lamp took the shape of a five-petal lotus flower! With the altar set up, I could now sit in front of it to perform my recitation of scriptures. The next day I realized, reciting the same amount scriptures was a breeze unlike before. Previously, I was able to recite only a maximum of five Little House per day as I would get extremely tired. As for now, I have no issue in reciting six. Furthermore, the dizzy spell that I suffered from whenever I spend long hours on performing recitation,  had also disappeared!

Now, I can maintain a better form in performing recitation, both at home and at work. The quality of my Little House has greatly improved. My son’s health condition was not good before, he was always reluctant to leave home and was always sleeping. After we set up the altar, even if he falls ill, he would recover after a few days. He is now in a better mental state, able to adhere to his exercise regime and he even goes shopping with his father to help carry groceries. As for me, after I started to recite the Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance in front of the altar, I had dreams on elimination of negative karma.

Master Lu said, in this Age of Dharma Decline, Bodhisattva’s compassion is indeed boundless; from the temple to our home, Bodhisattva has come to bless and protect us. As long as our family members do not oppose strongly to the idea of a Buddhist altar, we should strive to set up one. Be it recitation of Little House or elimination if negative karma  you will see ‘half the work, twice the effect’. In addition, we must take Master Lu’s discourse seriously. Do not be like me, believing myself to be infallible. We should pray to Bodhisattva to grant wisdom to the family as soon as possible to allow us to set up the altar – do not waste anymore valuable time and energy or else it will be a recipe for regret!

— Testimony Sharing on Master Jun Hong Lu’s Blog (Excerpt 178) 2015-06-01