Updated: Apr 17, 2020
Buddhist temples are designed to symbolise the five elements:
Earth, symbolised by the square base
Wisdom, symbolised by the pinnacle at the top
All Buddhist temples contain an image or a statue of Buddha.
You can create your own little area of “calm” in your home even if its just for decoration.
Buddhists will often set aside a room or a part of a room as a shrine. There will be a statue of Buddha, candles, and an incense burner. You can also do this in a room or part of an area in the house such as the Hallway.
Buddhist temples come in many shapes. Perhaps the best known are the pagodas of China and Japan.
Mantras and prayer
Woman spinning prayer wheels
A mantra is a word, a syllable, a phrase or a short prayer that is spoken once or repeated over and over again (either aloud or in a person’s head) and that is thought to have a profound spiritual effect on the person.
A very well known mantra is the mantra of Avalokiteshvara: om mani padme hum. This is sometimes said to mean “Behold! The jewel in the lotus!”, but this translation isn’t much help – the phrase isn’t really translatable because of the richness of meaning and symbolism it contains.
Physical prayer aids
Prayer wheel. Photo: Christine Gonsalves ©
It’s common to use prayer beads to mark the number of repetitions of a mantra.
Mantras may also be displayed on a prayer wheel and repeated by spinning the wheel, or written on a prayer flag – in which case the prayer is repeated each time the flag moves in the wind.
Prayer wheels can be tiny things that a Buddhist carries with them or enormous objects up to nine feet high found in monasteries.
These physical prayer devices are very common in Tibetan Buddhist communities.Buddhas & Gift Ideas