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“Why do Buddhists set up shrines in their homes? It’s important that we understand why this is the case. Because just thinking “Oh, Buddhists do that thing because this is some sort of ritual tradition, and that is just how they do it, because it is just a tradition,” is not very helpful. It is actually much more important that we understand that it is not “just a tradition,” and that there are reasons behind it. We should understand these reasons, and we should understand why it is so helpful to practice in holy places, in front of the support of sacred objects.
“Even in our homes we might arrange a shrine, and then we place sacred objects upon that shrine, the supports of Awakened Body, Speech and Mind. And in front of those sacred objects we arrange offerings beautifully, nicely, cleanly. And then in front of that place that is where we engage in the practices of gathering merit and purifying our obscurations, our negativities. That is where we do meditation, that is where we do our Dharma practice, in that kind of space, which is very, very helpful and beneficial.
“There is power and benefit in all different aspects of Buddhist practice. There is a lot of power in making dedications, and there is a tremendous benefit in making aspirations. Gathering virtue, dedicating merit we’ve accumulated – all these things are powerful, and if we do them, particularly in the presence of sacred objects, it is easier for our prayers to be accomplished, it is easier for our practice to go well. There really is a tremendous benefit, in fact, in doing so.”
– Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche