Viriya wrote:As a fellow starving university student, I commiserate, I had a pillowcase as my altar-cloth for years. (Not the most inspiring tribute to the noble religion, I know...but fully functional for catching dripping candlewax, dying flowers etc, and it didn't look that bad.)
I finally figured I could spare a few dollars for the sake of aesthetics and purchased a large orange cloth woven placemats from a secondhand store at Australian 0.50c. Beautiful AND cheap. Not to cheapen the teachings of the Blessed One. When you don't have a regular income, any expense is a big expense. ^^
I'm not sure what second-hand stores are like in the U.S., but if you're on a tight budget, I found they were a great place to look for very cheap candles, candle holders, incense, vases, photoframes and other shrine related sundry. I carried home the actual bookshelf I use for the altar from the side of the road. (=
I had to highlight that part of your response because it was so weird...Orange is actually the color I was contemplating for an altar cloth! I was thinking (based on another poster's recommendation) of going to a store that sells fabric by the yard and having them cut a piece for me, it shouldn't be too expensive. Second-hand stores here in the U.S. are probably much the same as they are Down Under. I actually found a nice porcelain Hotei statue a while back for like $15 US. It really looked like it was worth more, but maybe because as a Buddhist I have prejudiced eyes. And if you want decent furniture at fire-sale prices, there's no better bet than your local Salvation Army or any charitable thrift shop!
Thanks for the recommendations...I have been trying like mad to find a place I could buy a decent non-scented
pillar candle for my shrine, and I totally forgot about going to the local thrift shops. I swear everywhere I go, the only candles they have are of the most nauseating scents. Thai Lemongrass? I really only want the smell of nag champa when I'm doing puja in front of my shrine. And $17 for a 6 inch pillar candle? I could order one from DharmaCrafts (which is already
overpriced) for cheaper (and that includes the shipping!)
In the end, to quote Bhante G, the practice is the thing. As money is tight, I'm determined not to let my shrine drain my resources. As much respect as I have for Lord Buddha, I have to make sure I eat first before adding more curios to my collection. The $65 I plunked down for my Buddha statue was enough for me. If other people can spend hundreds of dollars on such things, then more power to them. My Buddha rupa
looks like it cost much, much more anyways. It also has the added bonus of looking like it really belongs in a Thai wat. And that's the point - finding something that inspires devotion, while at the same time not breaking the bank.
By the way, any recommendations for flowers that can withstand living in a stuffy garage apartment? I've been thinking roses...those seem to last a while...