Creating a shrine at home

  • Creating a shrine at home

    Posted by philji on March 20, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Could someone  offer some advice for newcomers who want to set up a simple shrine at home, explaining the where and why’s of having a shrine etc.

    dalaiwave replied 6 years, 10 months ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • hilaryherdman

    March 21, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Hi Phil,

    Below, I’ve pasted in an adapted version of the shrine set-up info from the Śrāvakayāna Handbook that is applicable for a simple home shrine. We use a shrine as motivation and inspiration for our practice.  Rinpoche often reminds us that just seeing the shrine can give us incentive to do our practice–and this is especially helpful if we are not surrounded by other practitioners. 

    You may use a simple but high-quality photo image of the Buddha as a support for your practice. It is important to begin with the  perspective that the Buddha and the Three Jewels are actually present in the room, on the shrine. We keep in mind that the image is not just an object, but that the Buddha is actually present in front of us. This is the best way to provide support for your practice. 

    If there are particular Buddhas or bodhisattvas that inspire you, it is also wonderful to incorporate their photos or images. And, if you have a teacher, or if you find particular teachers very inspiring, you may wish to add their photos to your shrine.  Our visual sense is very strong, so having the physical support of a shrine keeps us from feeling lonely and empty.  Taking the time to set up and care for a shrine, also increases mindfulness, and helps us to develop pure perception and a sacred outlook.


    It is appropriate to offer seven (or five or three) bowls of water as symbolic offerings to the Buddhas each morning. Other offerings such as flowers or a piece of fruit, are always appropriate. We may also offer light, symbolizing wisdom.  This can be done with a butter lamp, a candle, or a battery or electric light.

    In the evening, water from each of the bowls from left to right, is poured into a clean container; each bowl is then wiped dry and turned upside down. Lights should be extinguished by fanning or snuffing; they should not be blown out. The water can be used to water plants, the earth, return to a water source like a river, pond or stream as a blessing.  Flowers and food offerings should be changed regularly to keep the shrine looking as fresh and beautiful as possible.  

  • philji

    March 21, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    This is very helpful, thanks I can share it with our dharma stream group this evening.

  • dalaiwave

    April 4, 2017 at 7:40 am

    You inspire kindness in this advice, to return water to nature, so beautiful. I must show this to my children and grandchildren .

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