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noun (pl) butsudan, -dans
(in Buddhism) a small household altar
(in Nichiren Buddhism) an ornate cabinet which holds the Gohonzon
Word Origin
from Japanese butsu Buddha (from Chinese fu) + dan shelf
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Encyclopedia Article for butsudan

in Japanese households, the Buddhist family altar; historically, it was maintained in addition to the kamidana ("god-shelf"). The Buddhist altar generally contains memorial tablets for dead ancestors and, in accordance with sect affiliation, representations of various Buddhist divinities. Incense and candles are lit and flowers are offered by the devout at simple daily services, and, periodically, the family ancestors are memorialized before the butsudan.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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