Incense in Buddhism, the guide.
Incense and Buddhism - Introduction
Burning incense is an ancient practice found in all schools of Buddhism. Certainly, one can achieve enlightenment without him . But if you practice formally with other Buddhists, then you will come across them often!
The history of incense and Buddhism
The use of incense seems to date back to the beginning of human history . It is frequently mentioned in the Pali Canon , scriptures which date from the era of the Buddha. Along with flowers, food, drink, and even clothing, frankincense was a common dedication made to a revered person as a sign of respect. If you have a strong taste for the medieval-fantasy genre, discover these magnificent Dragon Incense Holder which will create a positive atmosphere in your room thanks to aromatherapy!
Although the offering of incense to an altar is a universal Buddhist ritual, Buddhists do not always agree on its initial reason . More fundamentally, incense is thought to purify the space , whether that space is a meditation room or your own bedroom. Incense can create a calming mood. In some schools, frankincense can have special symbolic meaning . Three sticks burned together could mean the Three Treasures, for example - the Buddha , the Dharma , and the Sangha .
< br> Whatever the symbolic meaning, making an incense offering before your daily singing or meditation practice is a good way to focus your attention and create a pure space for your practice. p>
The different types of incense
Westerners are probably more familiar with incense sticks or cones. You will find that stick incense is much more commonly used in a Buddhist temple. There is also a kind of loose incense which is burned by placing incense grains on hot charcoal.
There are two kinds of incense sticks : Incense without core or "solid" and incense with bamboo core. Stemless incense is more suitable for Buddhism because it burns completely. But bamboo kernel incense is also commonly used.
There are many other kinds of incense . In some Asian temples, huge rolls of burning incense hang from the ceilings. However, here we will limit ourselves to sticks and loose incense.
Western specialty shops usually carry Japanese, Tibetan, and sometimes Indian incense. Scents and quality can vary enormously . But in general, if you want a more subtle scent with less smoke, go for Japanese. If you want a more assertive incense, go for the Tibetan.
Incense holders with the effigy of Buddha
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Offer incense stick
Let's say you have erected an altar in your home and you want to offer incense to the Buddha. Usually we light the candle first, then we light the incense of the candle. A common practice is to bow to the image of the Buddha with palms together, then light one end of the incense
So here you are with a stick flaming incense. In Asia, it is considered rude to put out the flame ; it's like spitting on incense, that's disrespectful. Sometimes people wave the incense sticks to put them out or fan the flames with their hands. If you're worried about sparks, hold the sticks straight up , then shake them quickly. Burnt incense sticks can get hot enough to cause blisters, so be careful.
So what to do with the staff Planting the unlit end in a censer is a common choice . Any ceramic or metal bowl will do. The incense bowls of the Zen temple are filled with ancient incense ashes, accumulated over the years. If you haven't collected any incense ash, you can try fine, clean sand. You can also fill incense bowls with raw rice , but be careful not to attract mice.
It is good to know that incense sticks are used as a meditation timer . Some manufacturers will provide an estimate of burn time on the can.
Give loose incense
You might encounter loose incense in a temple . In this case, you should see in front of you a small brazier, or a simple box filled with ash or sand, containing a piece of burning charcoal. And beside it, a container filled with small incense pastilles.
To make an offering, bow with the palms of your hands clasped . Take a pinch of loose incense with the fingers of your right hand. Touch your forehead with the pinch of incense , then drop the pastilles on the hot charcoal. There will be an ottoman of fragrant smoke . Bow again before continuing.
And that's it. Practices vary from school to school, so if you are in a temple, watch what others are doing.
Keep fire safety precautions in mind with your candles and incense. Also, don't leave them unattended, especially if you have small children or curious cats.