Making Portable Shrines Together
A Shrine in a Box . . .
The week after lockdown, when we were reeling from the sudden change in our lives and still learning what Zoom even was, nine women gathered experimentally to create portable shrines together online. Taravandana reports . . .
Taking our Shrine-making Online
We had to cancel the day for women Mitras to make shrines at the Centre, so Khemasuri from the Sheffield Sangha and I, supported by Janet Hill and Gill Parry, tried holding it online with some friends. We began with tuning in, a short sit, and a led visualisation walking through a forest that the Buddha had visited and opening a magical chest to reveal something that might inspire us.
After a short break – I’m finding these vital during Zoom meetings – Khemasuri inspired us with ideas for creating portable shrines, sharing examples of some of her own made from empty metal crayon tins, book covers and boxes of various sizes and shapes. Then we all went away to transform our containers into sacred boxes, touching base through the screen every hour and a half to share how we were getting on or to ask for help, for example with how best to create a halo of flames for a Vajrapani shrine.
At the end of the day we each presented our shrine boxes, however far we had got with them, explaining any particular symbolism and personal connections with what we had created.
Our Beautiful Shrines
Beautiful evocative portable shrines to Kshitigarbha, Amitabha, Akshobhya, Shakyamuni and Vajrapani had emerged out of simple empty containers otherwise destined for the recycling bin. Shrines that can be taken on retreats, holidays or even a cycling trip, that easily fit into a case or rucksack or that can simply beautify an empty or boring shelf at home.
We had also spent the day bringing the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to mind and enjoying the company of Dharma sisters albeit through a screen. We closed our day by transferring our creative merits to the benefit of all beings, confident that practising and creating together via a screen works and is enjoyable.
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