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September 24, 2008

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Jordan

The polka-dot Buddha rocks!

Val

I have never understood, why all those rituals and complications? Does it really matter where and in front of what one is meditating? Your altar is lovely indeed, but won't clinging to an altar only make it harder for one to meditate somewhere else?

Barry Briggs

Jordan: Yes, the purple polka-dot Buddha is priceless. No gold Buddha comes close. I can't wait to see a Zen master in a purple polka-dot kesa. Thanks!

Val: Your point is spot-on. Every situation, each moment presents the true altar. Our work as practitioners is to keep "just now" mind throughout our day, throughout our life.

And yes, clinging to an altar, as with clinging to anything at all, inevitably produces dukkha.

At the same time (here's where I defend my attachment!), a formal home altar, whether humble or grand, can reflect both the inspirations that brought us to practice in the first place, as well as the aspirations that sustain our practice over time.

I've learned over the years that the daily activity of sitting on the cushion, in front of an altar, nourishes my life. And I've observed, in those periods when I've not been able to sustain daily practice, that life sort of goes sideways.

So I do treasure my home altar, for what I hope is the best reason: It calls out to me, pulling me out of my warm bed in the early morning, requesting my presence, not just in front of the altar but in every moment of the day. Please show up! Please show up!

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Barry

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