Guide to setting up an Buddhist Altar


22/08/2021 |    

Master Jun Hong Lu’s
Public Talk
Sydney, Australia
5 September 2010

When paying respect to the Buddhas, offering flowers will improve your appearance, and offering oil is good for our eyesight and for gaining wisdom. Some wise people suggest children spend their pocket money in buying a bottle of oil as an offering to the Bodhisattva and to pray for more wisdom. Offering water can ease and calm our mind while also helping us eliminate greed as water doesn’t cost anything. Many people are even attached to the offerings made to Bodhisattva. A novice Buddhist practitioner will feel secure once they offer water to Bodhisattvas. Their mind will be as pure as water. Therefore, if one prays for a sense of security, it’s best to offer water. The water offered on the altar needs to be changed every day. Furthermore, offering fruit can help you to achieve what you wish at a sooner time if you pray for something specific. For example, if you pray for a smooth career path or job security, offering fruit such as oranges and apples could speed things up, so you’ll get the outcome sooner. Offering fruit makes the wishes of a kind-hearted person come true sooner. For evil people, even though they make fruit offerings, karmic retributions come due earlier, too. The severity of the karmic retributions would be reduced if they take place earlier, which is better than suffering harsh retributions at a later stage. This is the law of cause and effect.


5.1 Purpose of blessing


What does blessing an item mean?

Master Jun Hong Lu’s
Public Talk
16 January 2016

From a religious point of view, to bless an item means to endow Bodhisattva’s special energy in items such as Bodhisattva’s images, statues and Dharma instruments. This is to guard and protect the sacred items. What is a “sacred item”? It’s the Buddha’s sacred image or statue. The deeper meaning of this is to get closer to our inner heart. When you speak about blessing, it’s not for you to bless Bodhisattvas, rather, it is to brighten the Buddha light in your heart. After that, wisdom will emerge in your mind and remain in the Buddha images and the Buddhist items you want to bless. Before being blessed, these items are the same as any other items. They have no spiritual energy, nor do they have any light, as they are contaminated by this mundane world. Their energy is concealed and hidden. Blessing allows the minds of practitioners to resonate with the Buddha’s mind. In other words, blessing allows the Buddha within us to connect to the statues’ Buddha-mind that we pray to and aligns with the overwhelming energy of the Buddha in the universe.


<How long can the effect of blessing last?>

Is it true that blessed landscape paintings and images or statues of Bodhisattvas turn ineffective after five years?

Shuohua20161014 19:12
(Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
An Excerpt

Caller: Hello Master. You advised us that a blessed landscape painting would be effective for five years. After five years, the energy field will diminish. Does this apply to the blue or the yellow landscape painting, or both?

Master Lu: Generally, it applies to both. But for the yellow landscape painting, it’ll be effective even after five years. As long as Bodhisattvas visits your altar, the mountain will be immersed in the Buddha’s light. For the blue landscape painting, as it’s not placed behind the statue or image of a Bodhisattva, over time the energy will diminish, especially after five years. When I bless the paintings, they are enveloped with energy but over time, the energy will be gone.

Caller: For Bodhisattva’s images blessed by you, will they become less effective if they are not on the altar within five years?

Master Lu: They won’t be effective after two or three years. After being blessed, never leave unused it for two years or more.


A blessed landscape painting can stop spirits from entering

Wenda20160325 45:42
(Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
An Excerpt

Caller: Master, can a blessed landscape painting stop spirits from entering?

Master Lu: Definitely. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a landscape painting? If you hang it on the door, wandering spirits can’t enter your house. It’s very straightforward.


How long will the effect of blessed images or statues of Bodhisattvas last? How to extend the spiritual energy of Bodhisattva’s images or statutes?

Wenda20160266 27:22
(Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
An Excerpt

Caller: Master, for the Bodhisattva images we get from your Dharma convention, if we are to distribute them to other practitioners, do we need to do it within half a year? Are they still effective after half a year? Will the effectiveness be diminished or unchanged?

Master Lu: It will definitely be diminished. The blessed items do have time limits. Everything in the Human Realm is subject to longevity. If these blessed items are not placed on the altar, their spiritual energy will disappear. This applies to everything. Just like a battery. A fancy cell phone won’t function without a battery. Even if an item has been blessed, if it’s not used or appreciated but remains idle, its spiritual energy will be gone. Do you understand?

Caller: Yes. Master, for the blessed images and pendants of Bodhisattva, how soon do we need to distribute them to others?

Master Lu: Half a year to one year would be fine. But after half a year, you may place them on the altar and bow and pray in front of the altar, the effectiveness would then be extended.

Caller: For example, I have 20 images of the Bodhisattva. Based on what you instructed, I should place them on the altar if I haven’t distributed them within half a year.

Master Lu: Yes.

Caller: How should I say my prayer?

Master Lu: It’s simple. Just say, “May Guan Yin Bodhisattva have compassion and give blessings so that the Buddha’s light shines upon these images.” The effectiveness will be extended for another half a year.


Is it meritorious to pay respect to a Buddha’s statue for a long time if it hasn’t been blessed?

Wenda20130906 57:13
(Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
An Excerpt

Caller: Some people living in rural areas bring a Buddha’s statue home and put it on the altar. They may not know much about the Buddhist rituals and don’t have a blessed statue. However, they are very sincere in their prayers and have the statue on the altar for their whole life. If they have been paying respects to a statue that hasn’t been blessed, would they still accumulate merits from doing so?

Master Lu: Yes, but it depends. If conditions ripen and if this person has a lot of merits and virtues, Bodhisattvas will still visit. Because they been praying for a long time, their sincerity will evoke a response.