Isla Vista Meditation

'If you want to know the path on the mountain, You must be the one who comes and goes on it.' -Hori, V. S. (2003). "Zen Sand". Capping Phrase #10.207.


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Setting up an Altar at Home

(I’ll post an updated photo of our altar at St Mike’s soon).
Locate your zabuton (mat) and zafu/stool/chair in a quiet area at home. Ideally you will sit facing a plain wall, but some look out on a still garden area, or sit facing into the room. No distractions!

Your Altar should be simple and minimalist, as follows

  • Some people hang an appropriate Eastern scroll or contemplative image on the wall behind.
  • Place an appropriate (Eastern fabric?) cloth on the top of your table or a dresser. If it’s a square, arrange it on the diagonal, so one corner hangs over and down at center front, ditto on each side.
  • In the center –  a bowl or small container with the water offering.
  • at 12:00 – the altar image, or statue preferably on an elevating base.
  • at 3:00 – the candle (for safety’s sake at home, use an electric candle).
  • at 6:00 – the incense bowl (use beach sand?  Sieve it regularly and gently pat it back into shape – a gentle meditative practice).
  • at 9:00 – the flower(s) in a vase.

Nothing on the altar should be taller than the statue or image.
Keep it simple: no beads, no skulls, no jewelry or papers and books….

That’s it! Nothing else.