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Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Mission of Singapore
Daily Observances in Jodo Shinshu

This webpage serves to introduce a simple home altar (Obutsudan) used by Jodo Shinshu members. Also added is an example of the daily liturgy chanted in homes of Jodo Shinshu members.


The picture above shows a simple yet dignified Jodo Shinshu Honganji-ha Obutsudan (Buddhist altar) for use at home. Obutsudans are part and parcel of many Jodo Shinshu families where daily morning and evening worship are performed.


Below is an explanation to the various Butsugu (Buddhist accessories) used in a simple Jodo Shinshu altar. Numbers are according to the diagram and may not be in consecutive form.

(6) Gohonzon (Main object of worship) - In Jodo Shinshu, a scoll drawing or calligraphy of the Rokuji Myogo [Namu Amida Butsu] may be used as the main object of worship. Both the Gohonzon and Wakigake should be purchased from the Honganji or Honganji Betsuins (Branch head temples).

(7) Wakigake (Side object of honour) - In the Honganji, a scroll of the Founder, Shinran Shonin is placed on the right. Likewise, a scroll of the Restorer, Rennyo shonin, is placed on the left of the Gohonzon. In some cases, the Kuji Myogo [Namu Fukashigiko Nyorai] and Juji Myogo [Kimyo Jinjippo Mugeko Nyorai] are placed.

(8) Buppanki (Rice cup) - In Jodo Shinshu, rice is offered during the morning Gongyo as a symbol of Dana or charity. In line with traditional Buddhist rites, the rice is removed after noon.

(11,12) Uetai Kouro, Kourotai (Incense burner, incense stand) - During Gongyo, incense is offered as a symbol of our acceptance to the impermanence of life, it also symbolises the adornment of the Butsudan. In the case of the upper incense burner, powdered incense in used.

(13) Kuge (Offering stand) - Other than rice, Mochi (rice cakes), sweets and fruits may be offered.

(14) Uchishiki (Altar cloth)

(15) Kapin (Flower vase) - Flowers are offered to represent the impermanence of life and to adorn the Butsudan. The flowers are always placed on the left, symbolising the imperfections of life that we must face in the Saha world.

(16) Shitatai Kouro (Incense burner) - Incense sticks are offered in the lower incense burner.

(17) Rousokutai (Candle stand) - Candles are burnt to symbolise the Buddha's light spreading towards all sentient beings. Ordinarily, wooden candles are placed on the candle stand [this also serves as a safety precaution].

(18,19) Kokoicho (Ancestral record) - In Jodo Shinshu, an Ihai [ancestral tablet/s] are not placed or offered to. Instead, an ancestral record book is placed in a corner of the Butsudan to serve as a memorial.

(24) Rin (Bell) - A rin is used to signal the start, pause and end of a service. It is only rung during Gongyo.


From Vista Buddhist Temple (Buddhist Churches of America) homepage


From Shin Dharma Net by Rev Alfred Bloom, Honpa Honganji Mission of Hawaii