(Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
WITH BODHISATTVA IN YOUR HEART, ANY PLACE IS A GOOD PLACE FOR AN ALTAR
Female Listener: How are you Master? Please excuse me, as I am not sure if my question involves dream interpretation or a Totem enquiry. On a few occasions my daughter has dreamed that Guan Yin Bodhisattva has visited our house. At present we do not have an altar at home. Master Lu, you told her that we should set up an altar at home as soon as possible. However, our current situation does not allow us to do so. Master, please give us your advice.
Master Lu: I should be the one asking you this question! Bodhisattva had already asked you to set up an altar, and you refused to because of your limitations?
Female Listener: It is because the house is rented.
Master Lu: You have the right to utilise a place that is rented, don’t you? Or are you just finding excuses?
Female Listener: Perhaps Master, you could help us determine where to place the altar?
Master Lu: Any place. It is best to place Bodhisattva in your heart!
Female Listener: I do offer heart incense daily.
Master Lu: You are hopeless! How much space could an altar possibly take up in one’s house? You are simply not willing to give up such a small space for an altar and therefore chose not to have one. Bodhisattva has come to your house to protect you, and yet you chase her away.
Female Listener: I’m sorry.
Master Lu: I feel so sorry for Bodhisattva. In the age of Dharma Decline, Bodhisattva told me , “most people are busy earning a living, they do not have time to visit temples. As such, I will go to their house to protect them” and here you are refusing to set up an altar! It is such a trivial request. You are hopeless. What else can I say? When disaster strikes, those who do not cultivate diligently will be frantically seeking help from Bodhisattva, making an effort only at the eleventh hour.
Female Listener: Master, can you give us your advice as to how we should go about setting up the altar?
Master Lu: Do your own set-up, there is no need to ask me. Once you have Bodhisattva in your heart, any place is a good place and vice-versa. Do you understand?
Female Listener: Thank you Master.
Master Lu: When you have Master reprimand you, you have a chance to eliminate your karmic debts. Do not wait until it’s too late and disaster strikes. Do you understand?
Female Listener: Yes. I had planned to set up the altar. My husband, however, was unwilling as he was worried the oil lamp or joss sticks would affect the flooring.
Master Lu: Buy a cupboard with a door, then you may burn the incense with the door opened. Close the door when it is done.
Female Listener: We are to place Bodhisattva in the cupboard, and the table outside?
Master Lu: No, everything is to be placed inside. Regard the cupboard as a shrine. Do you understand?
Female Listener: Yes. Should it be made of glass?
Master Lu: No, not glass. One with doors is more appropriate. Then you can have the doors shut, especially during intimate moments between couples.
Female Listener: We plan to place it in the children’s room, is that acceptable? They are still very young.
Master Lu: Yes, you may. How many children have you got?
Female Listener: Three.
Master Lu: In that case, it is still best to use a cupboard with doors.
Female Listener: I planned to put all three children into one room, and use the other room especially for the altar. In that case, is an altar with doors still the best?
Master Lu: Yes.
Female Listener: I understand now. Thank you Master, please forgive me.
Master Lu: Remember to cultivate diligently. It is unfortunate when one does not have a teacher to reprimand them. However, you have a Master now who has your welfare at heart, and who reprimands you for your own good. Misfortune happens when there is no one to tell you right from wrong. Do you understand?
Female Listener: Yes, Master. My gratitude to you, Master.