Popular Buddhist Altar Essentials
Buddhist rituals have been in practice since the time of The Buddha. Rituals make use of symbolism to speak to the subconscious mind and help us grow when we practice them daily.
Rituals aren't always elaborate. Often times, they are as simple as a handshake or a prayer before a meal. However, many people choose to engage in more complex rituals that require special tools. Buddhist rituals often involve items that represent specific aspects of the belief.
If you want to practice rituals using the same items used by Buddhists in Tibet, take a look at the authentic Buddhist altar supplies we offer:
1. Tibetan Prayer Beads
Prayer beads are one of the most well-known symbols of Buddhist practice. Prayer beads, known as "Malas", are a string of 108 beads used in prayer. The beads are made from the Ficus religiosa tree and they represent the sins of humankind. These beads are essential for your Buddhist altar. Monks use them daily in their devotion.
2. Buddhist Prayer Bell
The Prayer Bell is used to ask the gods for divine protection. The sound of the prayer bell is said to be the same tone of Buddha's voice and the heavenly law known as "dharma." The bell can be used to call a group to worship. Buddhist prayer bells are decorated with elaborate patterns. The handle is reminiscent of a crown.
Never far from the prayer bell is the Dorje. This is one of the most important items used by monks in their rituals. This ornate object symbolizes the thunderbolt of enlightenment, which is the key goal of Buddhist practices. When one reaches enlightenment, they are able to live aside from the want of material possessions and earthly pleasures.
The Damaru or Tibetan Drum is used in tantric rituals. Most people are probably familiar with this instrument as one of their childhood toys because of how it's played. The drum is twisted from side to side while small beads hit each side of the drum. Since its arrival in the Himalayas in the 8th century, it has been a popular item in Buddhist rituals. This drum is specifically used to help get through the issues keeping a person from enlightenment.
5. Shankha Conch Shell
This might be the most ornate and beautiful item on your altar. The Shanka is decorated with symbols of faith and gemstones. It is one of the eight symbols of the Ashtamangala. It symbolizes water and the ubiquity of Buddhism.
6. The Ghau Box
Worn to keep evil spirits away, this amulet is decorated with precious stones. Inside, it holds a clay depiction of Buddha. The Ghau Box is also worn to bring the blessing of Buddha upon the wearer. Typically, men wear a square-shaped amulet, while women wear round ones.
7. Tibetan Butter Lamp
You can spot Tibetan Butter lamps at any Buddhist Temple. Yak butter is burned in the cup to symbolize wisdom. The butter lamp is typically part of the morning offering ritual. The butter lamp is accompanied by seven other offering bowls, each symbolizing different things.
8. Tibetan Prayer Wheel
The prayer wheel is adorned with the eight symbols of the Ashtamangala. They are usually gold and can be a large (for temples) or handheld size. It is often spun while reciting the mantra, "Om Mani Padme Hum."
Browse our online store today to find all the Buddhist ritual items you need to help you on your spiritual path.