Dear Teacher,

Could you explain why it is fine to burn incense and pray to deities? Is it allowed to place a statue of Guan-Yin next to the Shiva on a table? Why and why not? Thank you.



Pay no attention to the scent of incense while you are meditating. If the scent is distracting, then do not burn incense while you meditate. Other times of day, incense clears the air and is very nice. There have even been scientific studies that show the positive influence of a little incense burned in a room. Do not burn so much that the lungs are assaulted, but that is just common sense.



Prayer can be superficial (for example an emotional indulgence) or deep. The deepest form of prayer is proper meditation. I am thinking to write a book called, ‘The Manifestation Sutras’ that could include an entire chapter on how to do more effective prayer. Superficial prayer is not a bad thing. It may just not be all that effective.

拜佛或是祈禱可能是來自表面層次(譬如帶有情緒思想的祈求),也可能是來自生命深層的本質。最深層次的拜佛祈禱是適當合宜的靜坐。我正在考慮寫一本書叫做顯像經(The Manifestation Sutra),其中可以包括一整篇章來講述如何做更有效的拜佛或祈禱。表面層次的拜佛不是不好,只是可能沒有太大的效果。

Guan-Yin is a culturized expression of Lakshmi. If you relate to your culture in that way, it is fine. However, the Vedic form is more powerful in that the form is more consistent with the transcendental value. However, the cultural aspect of life is precious and important also and has its power on a cultural level that is certainly to be honored. So if you like Guan-Yin, having a statue of Her is fine…. In fact, we have two in our home, though we do not keep them on the alter.

觀音是亞洲文化中的一位菩薩,其實就是吠陀經中的Lakshmi女神。假如你覺得比較接近亞洲文化背景,對觀音比較有感覺,其實是好的。不過,吠陀形式的Lakshmi能量更強,因為它和自身的本性價值更加協調一致。話說回來,每一個文化對待生命的方式都是很珍貴且重要,從文化層面來看是有其力量的,且值得尊崇的。因此,假若你喜歡觀音,放個觀音像是沒有關係的…. 事實上,我家有兩座觀音,但我們沒有放在神桌上。

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