How to set up a simple Tibetan Buddhist Shrine.






1. Think about what you are doing and why.

2. Find a suitable place for the Shrine.

3. Clean the space thoroughly.

4. Place a clean piece of cloth on the surface. In the
illustrated shrine, a Tibetan offering scarf (kata)
has been used for this purpose.

5. Place the representation of the Buddha in the
centre of the shrine. The illustrated shrine uses an
embroidered picture of the Buddha, but a statue or a
poster or card with a picture of the Buddha can
equally be used. Try to ensure that the Buddha is set
at a higher level than the offerings.

6. Place seven offering bowls in a line directly in
front of the Buddha; each bowl should be placed the
width of a grain of rice from the next bowl.

7. Place a butter lamp containing a night-light
directly behind the forth bowl (counting from the

8. Construct the universal offering.

9. Starting with the bowl on the far left, fill each
bowl with the specified offering whilst considering
what that offering symbolises and what that means for
you. After you have finished the offering in the
fourth bowl (incense); light the night-light in the
butter-lamp. Complete the offerings using the
remaining offering bowls.

10. Place the universal offering on the shrine, again
being very mindful of what the offering represents.

11. Add any further offerings such prayers (the
illustrated shrine shows a Tibetan prayer card); small
vase of flowers; burning incense.

12. When removing the offerings (before or at sunset
each day when water is used in the offering bowls)
empty the bowls one by one, dry them with a clean
cloth and stack them upside down or put them away.
Bowls should be emptied from right to left. Never
leave empty bowls right side up on the altar. The
water is not simply thrown away but offered to the
plants in your house or in the garden. Food and
flowers should also be put in a clean place outside
where birds and animals can eat them.

Two Hot Tips!

· The day before setting up the shrine, soak the rice
in some water coloured with saffron – leave it
overnight. Drain the rice and leave it to dry. You
will then have rice with a beautiful golden-yellow
colour which will look superb in the offering bowls.

· Use pudding rice rather than long-grain rice; this
absorbs the saffron better. Also, being more dense, it
is better at ‘holding’ the items placed in the
offering bowls.

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