Here’s sharing some mystical practice regarding our home. Especially a new home. Do note that such hocus pocus are not taught by Buddha.
Personally I find that rituals help focus my emotional and mental state. It kind of translate mental ideals into performing actions that further enhances the mental resolve. However, like anything else in this world, a balanced approach is good.
For spiritual practioners with a Buddhist shrine/altar, the act of setting up a buddhist altar defines the home as a sacred ground for mental development. (That’s provided we really practice to improve our compassion, loving kindness, charity, concentration, mindfulness…. etc)
Do note that a shrine/altar is optional.
I will share about the layout or arrangement of shrine in another post.
IMPORTANT: The Buddha had advised us to engage in meritorious deeds of making offerings to the monks and nuns. Since the Buddha’s time, his lay disciples invite Buddha and his monks to a meal in their home. So if there is opportunity, the best house warming is to invite them to visit our new home and offer a meal. Then seek some advice / teachings and blessings for our new home.
First entry to our new home
The joy and excitement of taking possession of our property. Getting the keys to our new home is so sweet! Finally! Home sweet home!
Usually, the house/apartment would have been vacant for a period of time. So the 1st thing I do is a simple clean up. That is sweeping the floor. For chanters, you can chant your favourite mantra while doing this simple act. I usually chant the mantra of heart sutra for this purpose.
The lyrics of the mantra goes like this “Ga Te Ga Te, Pa Ra Ga Te, Pa Ra Sang Ga Te, Bo Dhi Sva Ha”
For meditator, loving kindness and mindful sweeping is good.
And remember to always share and dedicate the merits of our practice to all beings.
The mentality of this practice is to think that we are sweeping away the mental and physical impurities and negative energy inside ourselves, as well as all other beings. Negativities such as ill will, craving, desires, wrong views etc… In this way, it is a win win situation, all beings including ourselves are free from negativities! (positive attitudes right?)
Then I will make myself a cup of sweet tea and eat some cakes that I brought along. It’s tea party with family and friends sitting on the floor. (The furnitures had not arrived and renovations had not even started.) The act of boiling water to make tea symbolise fire and cooking. Signs of human inhabitation.
Before leaving for the day, I will usually do a short practice like loving kindness meditation or chanting. Then dedicate merits to all beings. At the same time, I will mentally announce my intention to move into this new home shortly. As a Buddhist disciple of Buddha, there will be much chanting and meditation in future. May all beings be well and happy!
The following can be done at our Buddhist shrine (if we intend to have one) otherwise the living room would do fine. This is performed upon first moving into our home when furnitures and renovations are completed.
The act of dedicating our home to Buddha means that members of the family are on the path towards enlightenment. In a romantic notion, a ” future Buddha” is going to reside there. Every simple act of offering incense, light or flowers to Buddha are accumulation of positive mental association with Buddha and the ideal of enlightenment. Every practice to be a better person , to meditate or to chant are part of our spiritual journey towards Enlightenment.
It is believed that some earth bound gods and celestial beings “earn” their merits by protecting practitioners with good qualities.
Therefore in gist, we declare our home to be a source of such positivities going forth. We invite protective Gods and goddess to visit and we invite all beings to participate in our spiritual practice too.
Step 1. Foremost is to say a Refuge prayer to remind ourselves of our refuge in Triple Gem. (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha)
Step 2. Engage in a short session of mind training practice like loving kindness meditation or chanting and develop loving kindness in our mind towards all beings (seen and unseen)
Step 3. Dedication of our home towards the cause of Buddhist practice. This is like a mental prayer where we announce that henceforth this home is offered towards the practice of Buddhism, a place where one is committed towards practicing the Buddha’s doctrine.
Example of prayer: ” The new residents of this place are disciples of the Buddha, committed to practicing the Buddha’s teaching. I dedicate this home to Buddha and the practice of Buddha Dharma. I dedicate the merits of my spiritual practice to all beings. May all beings be well and happy, may all beings be free from sufferings.”
(Optional Step 4). Inviting the celestial to visit, reside and protect. Basically this is again a mental prayer where we reaffirm our commitment for practicing the Buddha’s teaching and inviting the Gods/goddesses who are committed to protecting Buddhist, to arrive and be present in our home. I believe, it is their job to set things right and set the energy level right in the home. They do their jobs while we just need to be good buddhist 🙂
Example of prayer: “May the Dharma protectors come and reside in this humble abode and protect its residents from harm. May all beings be well and happy, may all be free from suffering and harm.”
That’s a simple house warming ritual for me. Hope you like it.