Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Model Train" altars--how close is yours?

While poking around at the Buddhist forum I've joined recently, I came across a discussion of ritual items and altar setups. One of the longer-term posters commented that he'd once been told to be cautious, lest he fall prey to the "model train" trap: putting EVERYTHING he could possibly ever, ever need or want on the altar, always feeling like something's missing or not quite perfect, constantly looking for "just one more thing" to complete the setup.

With a Tibetan Buddhist altar this is a very dangerous slope, indeed. I find myself doing quite a bit of online window-shopping for various items--and I admit, I don't necessarily NEED anything more than what I have, but I would LIKE to have a set of water offering bowls, and a butter lamp, and another set of prayer flags, and . . .

So, is anyone else familiar with this scenario? Is there a "bare mininum" amount of items that's acceptable (either to you, or to your deities or practice)? Is less better than more? Or, is more More MORE required?

I'm curious. I never felt this way when I was Wiccish. Weird, that.

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