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A Butsudan ( Japanese 仏 壇 ) is a shrine in a Buddhist temple or monastery, or a Buddhist house altar in Japanese apartments to document the bond with Buddhism and to worship the ancestors and the recently deceased.

When someone dies, the Buddhist priest gives the deceased a new name, which is recorded on an Ihai (an ancestral tablet ) and placed in Butsudan. Offerings are made to the souls of the deceased, e.g. B. rice or tea.

Butsudan is the center of worship at O-Bon , the annual festival of the dead.

The house altar usually consists of a shrine that can be closed with double doors. This can consist of gold-plated carvings, but also of plastic. In addition to a picture or a figure of Buddha , the altar often contains a scroll with calligraphy (for example a Gohonzon in Nichiren Buddhism ), photos, tablets with the names of the deceased and objects that commemorate the deceased.

Today, many Japanese homes do not have a niche for a full-size shrine, or only children inherit a shrine from both paternal and maternal sides. So it is becoming more and more common to get rid of the old shrines. The shrine is dismantled and given to a temple, which burns the shrines together in a ceremony. Small butsudan the size of a shoebox are becoming increasingly popular because they can be placed on a shelf or in a closet.

Shinto house altars in Japan are called Kamidana . The tokonoma , a wall niche for decorations, is also of Buddhist origin.


Web links

Commons : Butsudan  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files