Apr 6, 2019

Butsudan - the holy grail


The Butsudan is a common household Japanese altar. Offerings are made of the Butsudan to ask from protection from the ancestor’s spirits. In essence, it looks like a wooden cabinet carved by a master carpenter from high quality material. Departed ancestors are placed in the Butsudan for veneration. People place lanterns, candles, incense burners scrolls, statues, Butsudan bells and other Butsudan accessories. People also place photographs of the deceased as an embrace of modern proliferation through photography.

The Butsudan comes in many types but the basic form is a triangular shape. The shape, color and size of your Butsudan dies not matter as long as you treat it like a holy alter. The Butsudan price will depend on the material and size you want to get. The Butsudan is also an expression of your faith and usually means that Buddhism is close to your family.

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The cost

The Butsudan cost will depend on several factors. If you are planning one made of an authentic wooden material and a traditional Japanese Butsudan design, you should be ready to pay a high cost. The average cost of a modern Butsudan should be between 100,000 and 500,00 yen.

The arrangement

The Butsudan should be placed in a stable and secure location. There should be minimal risks of the Butsudan arrangements like the Gohonzon. You do not want any of them being knocked over and damaged. Avoid placing the Butsudan close to open windows and doors or passageways and fireplaces.

Try placing it in an area with minimal distractions. For instance, find a location that is not too close to the television of a place that is not often used by your family members. Also, the location should be lit with extra bulbs so that the accessories can e seen when you open it.

The arrangement and type of items that go into your Butsudan depends on its size. Typically the Butsudan has two doors, a temple gate and three stairs. When setting up a Butsudan, that the stairs should be reserved for the most important item. A Buddha statue is places on each stair of the Butsudan. You could also place an image instead of the statue. Personal photographs, certificates, lottery tickets, and trophies should not be places on this Holy Grail. You should not expect to reap any earthy benefits from the altar.

How to enshrine the Butsudan

The Gohonzon go hand in hand with the Butsudan when it comes to caring and enshrining the altar. It is an object of devotion and a representation of your enlightened life. You should respect the Gohonzon and Butsudan during the enshrinement. Your Gohonzon should hang horizontally so that it touches the dowel as a framed picture on the wall would. Keep it still and avoid any contact to keep it clean. It should be at the level of your head during chanting to avoid any form of straining

How to care for the Butsudan

Some of the basic ways of caring for you Butsudan include offering a cup of fresh water each morning, lighting a candle, holding morning flowers, keeping it clean and reporting family situations.

The Butsudan works like water to keep our minds clean; if you get dirty hands you simply have to wash them. The water you offer every morning means you are praising the Buddha with water and quenching their thirst. The candle is a symbol of brightness and burns to break the darkness. Incense means offering some fragrance. Candle light and fragrance spread the Buddha’s teaching

The morning service expresses your gratitude and increases your faith. Flowers are important Butsudan offering, they are a symbol of beauty and ornament. Flowers are a symbol of wisdom. There are several rules when it comes to the flowers. You are not supposed to offer artificial flowers in the shrine. Also, you can offer something your ancestors loved as a symbol of peace. You are not supposed to leave dead or dying flowers at the Butsudan altar. Take good care of them and make sure the Butsudan is always clean.

Final word

The Butsudan is very common in Japan. It allows the families to pray together in the comfort of their own home. The prayers are usually geared towards veneration of the ancestors, loved ones and the deceased. This tradition is very important and every religious individual should buy Butsudan for their homes to make it a safe sanctuary.