another furniture finale
This is the piece i built this summer in furniture studio. its a butsudan (literally means buddha house) but it is a Buddhist shrine as it were, which most Buddhists (particularly the Japanese sects with which i am familiar) maintain in their own home.. i was raised buddhist, although i don't exactly practice anymore, i still have all of my religious para that i should have in its 'proper' place. my buddhist upbringing is still a profound aspect of my ethos/values or way of looking at life and the world. i may go back to practicing at some point. anyway, this is what a traditional butsudan of this size would look like:
it has outer and inner doors. inside the inner doors in this sect of buddhism, is a scroll called a gohonzon which you focus on during meditation or saying the mantra (Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo)...you may remember this from the tina turner movie?!? anyway, the butsudan usually sits on top of a table which is the altar. the altar would have candles, lemon leaves, incense etc. for mine, i wanted to remain true to the tradition of what a butsudan is and does but adjust its design for my lifestyle. instead of sitting on a table it is wall hung. i wanted something that was minimal but also quietly beautiful and discretely spiritual. for instance when the outer doors (steel) are open, the inner door doesn look like a door. it just looks like a recessed panel of very figured walnut with 2 walnuts trapped inside! where the tree cracked or had a branch. it doesn't scream..."religious object!" but it looks special. (to me) like a work of art.
then with a little interaction...the butsudan can turn into the altar. that little handle can be removed and the panel/door slides down. to reveal the gohonzon (not shown here) and 2 shelves one opens out (the top one) and has the incense burner, two candles and a water bowl.the bottom shelve has two testtube/mini vases for single stems of lemon leaves and enough space to hold the sutra(prayer) book. so if i decide to practice i can.
its small (not tiny though 3 feet long when closed), but fitting for my lifestyle and household...my mom called it a starter butsudan! because a lot of the buddhists we've known for 20yrs have more monumental style butsudans and altars that can take up a whole wall. that just didn't fit for me. anyway, these ARE NOT the professional pictures. i think those will be ready next week. i'm sure they will be better, less washed out and blurry, i'll replace these with those.