What is a Butsudan?

The Butsudan


Butsudan #2 (Made of wood salvaged from old palettes.)


A butsudan (佛壇 or 仏壇, literally “Buddhist altar”) is a shrine commonly found in temples and homes in Japanese Buddhist cultures.[1] A butsudan is a wooden cabinet with doors that enclose and protect a gohonzon or religious icon.  (Courtesy of Wikipedia)


The use of a butsudan need not be limited to Buddhists alone. A shrine can house anything one feels is worthy of special attention.

Cedar Butsudan

Body of Butsudan #8 on the workbench.

I believe that a butsudan should be handmade out of solid wood, free of metal fasteners, toxic glues and stains. It should be as near as possible to the tree from which it comes. A shrine is, in my opinion, a metaphor for the human body.

My butsudans are designed to be interacted with,tuned, nurtured, taken apart and put back together. Such care brings one closer to what lies inside.

4 Responses to “What is a Butsudan?”

  1. How large of a Butsudan can you make?

  2. Any size you like. So far, I have built them upwards of 8′ tall. How big did you have in mind?

  3. I love you site and work. Your Butsadan designs are spectacular. Are you a practitioner of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism?

  4. I’m so glad you like my work. Yes, I am a member.

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