Pure land BUDDHISM > HOME GONGZHUO
Our chanting can be done anywhere, anytime. But if we wish to have a special place for practice in our home, we first need to decide where we would like it to be. A separate room is ideal, but when this is not possible a quiet and comfortable spot will do just as well.
It is also advisable to choose a set time for our practice, perhaps early in the morning when the mind is still relatively calm or at night as you are winding down from a long day and wish to let go of anything that is troubling you.
Having chosen where to practice, we then set up a small table. Place only objects that relate to your practice on it, not everyday objects. Apart from creating a respectful atmosphere, this will help you in your concentration.
You can use a bookshelf if space is limited; however, it is best to not place objects other than Dharma materials or books above this shelf. If the gongzhuo needs to be placed in your bedroom, do not place it at the foot of the bed but rather to the side.
A simple arrangement would be to place a statue or any other image of Amitabha Buddha on the gongzhuo with a clean container of water in front of him. You may also use images or arrangements that have both Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva accompanying Amitabha Buddha.
Looking at the image of Amitabha, you would place Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva on the right side and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva on the left side. If you have difficulty in obtaining an image, you can contact an Amitabha Buddhist society to request a picture.
If it is not possible to obtain a statue or other images, you may simply write “Amitabha Buddha” on a piece of paper and place it behind and a bit higher than the container of water.
If you are in a situation where even this is not possible, just focus quietly on your practice. A sincere wish to chant, to improve oneself, and to help others, are the necessary requirements for practice.