Место для духовной практики
The Shrine Room
It is best to start with practices which are common to all Buddhist traditions for every-day observance. It is usual, among the more wealthy lay Buddhists, to have a small room set aside for their daily devotions, or at least a curtained-off recess. A few might even have a small separate building. Even poor people, with little space in their houses, have a special shelf high on the wall on which a Buddha-image or picture is placed together with the usual offerings (see below). Nowhere in the Buddhist world are Buddha-images treated as ornaments for a living room. And a Buddha image is always given the highest "seat" in the room, that is, the Buddha-image is displayed in the place of honor. In the shrine-room this will be on the highest part of a shrine. If on a special shelf (often carved and decorated with color and gold), then that shelf is usually high on the wall and has nothing above it. The fact that one places the symbol of one's Teacher in the highest place shows one's high regard for him. For this reason alone it is obvious that Buddha-images should not be placed on mantelpieces and miscellaneous furniture. Also, if the shrine occupies part of the room used for sleeping (this would be contrary to some Buddhist traditions), it should be near the head of the bed, not at its foot. This is because that part of the body which houses most of the organs of sense and is the physical base of much mental activity -- that is, the head -- the topmost part of a person, should be directed to what one esteems as the highest, in this case, the symbol of the Buddha. But feet, however useful, are easily dirtied and become ill-smelling quickly and should never be pointed at any person who is respected and certainly not at a shrine, whether Buddha-image or stupa.
Perhaps some may object to such matters. One may be able to hear some people growling, "Buddhism has nothing to do with such things!" But this attitude ignores the fact that the Dhamma is relevant to all circumstances, also that fine conduct was praised by the Buddha, not ignored by him. So such things do matter if one is going to have objects of reverence such as Buddha-images. Whenever we think that such matters are not worth troubling over then we are just careless and unmindful. A Buddha-image should be treated respectfully and it is a good way of training oneself to treat the Buddha-image as one would Gotama the Buddha himself. Reverence (apacayana) is a part of the Dhamma which should not be neglected for it helps in the overcoming of conceit. Buddhists of all traditions have shrines with images, paintings, stupas and so on, just because reverence is an essential part of Buddhist training. From practices based on reverence are born humility in oneself and harmonious relationships with others and the Buddha tells us that four qualities increase for those who are respectful and honor those who are senior to them: "Long life and beauty, happiness and strength" (Dhp 109). Who does not want them?
To digress a little here on the objection raised above. This might be made by a person of rational temperament who had been able to read some translations from the Pali Canon but who had never met with Buddhist teachers or been to Buddhist countries. From his reading such a person might get the impression that Theravada is coolly logical, in fact a sort of eastern humanism. But this shows the selectiveness of the mind since all through the Suttas there are examples of reverence and devotion. It is true that the Buddha did not encourage his followers to give full reign to their emotions with unrestrained outbursts (in contrast to Hindu and other teachers who have emphasized that bhakti (devotion to a god) is all). However, He did lay down three forms of reverence for bhikkhus; wearing the robe with the right shoulder bared, kneeling down, and holding the palms of the hands together in the gesture of reverence. Prostration at the feet of the Buddha is also mentioned many times in the Suttas. Lay people are free to show their reverence in any suitable way and people of those times were recorded in the Suttas as expressing their reverence variously:
So the Kalamas of Kesaputta approached the Lord. Having approached him, some prostrated towards the Lord and sat down at one side; some greeted the Lord politely, and having conversed in a friendly and courteous way, sat down to one side; some raising their hands in anjali to the Lord sat down to one side, some called out their names and those of their clans and sat down to one side; while others saying nothing sat down to one side.
-- Kalama Sutta, Anguttara-nikaya iii 65 (PTS edition). See, "A Criterion of True Religion," Mahamakut Press, Bangkok, and "The Kalama Sutta," Wheel No. 8, BPS, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
No doubt these expressions depended upon their confidence and serenity (saddha-pasada). Down to the present time, Theravada tradition in any Buddhist country is rich in the various forms of reverence accorded to Buddha-images, stupas and to the Sangha. So a negative view as the one mentioned is neither an advantage for practice nor in agreement with tradition.
But other people too might have such ideas, for instance some who have read about the iconoclastic attitude of some Zen masters, or of the siddhas who were the last partly Buddhist teachers in India before the extinction of Buddhism there. There are remarks and actions recorded of some of the former teachers which might lead one to expect that whatever else Zen is, surely reverence plays no part in it. Such people are bound to be a little startled by the emphasis on reverence and the large devotional element present in the daily training of anyone, monastic or lay, who stays in a Zen training temple. The siddhas too spoke against rituals but that was because they were faced with a great overgrowth of Buddhist ritualistic devotion gradually accumulated through centuries of Mahayana and Vajrayana. In matters of devotion, as in other things, one should remember that the Buddha himself taught "Dhamma in the middle," with the rejection of extremes, Confidence (saddha) should be balanced with wisdom (pañña), but one-sided practice will not lead to great fruits.
Another sort of objection which has been raised is that the forms of respect in Buddhist tradition are specially Asiatic and not suitable for Buddhists in other countries. One hears of calls for a peculiarly British or American Buddhism divested of "Asiatic trimmings." Perhaps the various non-Indian peoples to whom Buddhism has spread also raised such objections when Buddhist tradition contrasted with their own established cultures. However that may have been, the Dhamma requires some time before it puts its roots down in any culture and before one can even begin to imagine western forms of Buddhism, westerners who have long trained in the Sangha, become learned and serene in their hearts are necessary. The priority in Buddhism is on properly trained people, not on arguments as to exterior forms.
Now, to return to the shrine room. Lay people will find it most useful in the morning and evening, and perhaps on some days when more time can be given to the cultivation of calm and insight. The usual course of practice taught for lay people in Buddhist countries is that they should practice giving (dana) according to their faith, and as far as their circumstances allow make an effort to keep the precepts (sila) pure, and as far as they are able so develop the mind in meditation (bhavana). That is to say, those who are less interested in Dhamma practice should at least make an effort to be generous. If they give nothing, or very little when more could be given, they are making little or no effort to go against the worldly stream of craving. Some who cultivate generosity may not be very good at keeping some of the Precepts but they are practicing a valuable part of Dhamma. And it is reckoned much more practical to be open-handed and devoted to the Buddha than it is merely to have a lot of unpracticed book-learning. Next will come people who not only make an effort to give generously but also try to keep the precepts. They try to conform their actions to what agrees with the Five Precepts and perhaps on special occasions undertake Eight Precepts as well, a subject to be discussed below. Finally, there are those who are able to practice more than dana and sila and try to cultivate their minds every day through meditation. Now the shrine-room is the place where at least the last two of these Dhamma-practices may be undertaken.
It should be a quiet place and one which is screened or curtained off from the sight of people not interested in Dhamma. It is desirable to have some such place apart from ordinary living rooms, devoted only to Dhamma-practice and where the furnishings will remind one only of Dhamma. Though these may be quite elaborate in Buddhist countries, really nothing is needed which is difficult to obtain. Probably the most difficult and perhaps expensive, is the Buddha-image. Failing to obtain that, an inspiring picture of the Buddha may be used. Or if one cannot be found then a good reproduction of some famous stupa could be one's focus. Whatever it is, with its beauty it should evoke harmony and peace. If there is an image then one requires a low table to place it on-so that the Buddha-image is just a little higher than one's head when kneeling down. So it will be an advantage if one can kneel down on a soft mat on the floor and dispense with chairs. Once kneeling, it is easy to seat oneself after offerings and recollections in meditation posture. The table upon which the Buddha-image is placed could be covered with a new cloth, perhaps something beautiful in color and texture, for beauty used with restraint, is an aid to devotion. In front of the Buddha-table another and lower one might be used for the offerings, something like the sketch on the facing page.
Редакция перевода от 19.07.2016 12:27