Yasodhara venerating the Buddha by placing her head upon His feet.
I myself like to place my head on the feet of Amida images/statues and kiss them.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
A short question and answer on the home altar
"Some say that a Jodo Shinshu follower must have a home altar (butsudan), while others say this is not important. What do you think?"
I think it depends on each person. Let me give you an example from daily life.
Some are capable to remember their loved ones even if they don't carry their photos with them every day. Others, even if they also never forget their loved ones, they enjoy looking with love and affectionate thoughts to their photos. I myself never forget the girl I love, even when I do not see her for many days or weeks, but I like to look at her photo anytime I can, so I always carry one of her photos with me, in my pocket. It is the same pocket I carry a photo with Amida Buddha, too :)
This is somewhat similar with having an altar dedicated to Amida Buddha and an image with Him in your own room. You are never far from Amida, and you know He is always with you, but because your unenlightened eyes of flesh cannot see Him, you may wish to have a painted image with Him and His Name in Chinese or English characters. There is nothing wrong with this, but on the contrary, it may prove helpful.
Also, have you ever kissed a photo of your dear ones, when you thought to them or missed them, or simply out of love for them? In the same way, you can have an image of Amida Buddha to whom you can offer flowers or bow to it, or touch your forehead with it, or even kiss it with devotion. I myself like to do all these things with images of Amida Buddha. It is the way this ignorant and devotional peasant likes to express his devotion to his Savior.
But of course, you may be different and you might not feel the need to have sacred images at home. Both choices are ok, as long as you have faith (shinjin), because faith is all that matters. And if you are not yet established in faith, sacred images may help in creating connection with Amida Buddha, along with listening to the true teaching about Him.
- fragment from a letter to a friend -