- About Incense-
What is Incense
Incense is aromatic biotic material which releases fragrant smoke when burned. The term refers to the material itself, rather than to the aroma that it produces. Incense is used for aesthetic reasons, and in therapy, meditation, and ceremony. It may also be used as a simple deodorant or insectifuge.
A variety of materials have been used in making incense. Historically there has been a preference for using locally available ingredients. For example, sage and cedar were used by the indigenous peoples of North America. Trading in incense materials comprised a major part of commerce along the Silk Road and other trade routes, one notably called the Incense Route
Techniques used to make incense. Local knowledge and tools were extremely influential on the style, but methods were also influenced by migrations of foreigners, among them clergy and physicians who were both familiar with incense arts.
Incense is composed of aromatic plant materials, often combined with essential oils.The forms taken by incense differ with the underlying culture, and have changed with advances in technology and increasing diversity in the reasons for burning it.Incense can generally be separated into two main types: "indirect-burning" and "direct-burning". Indirect-burning incense (or "non-combustible incense") is not capable of burning on its own, and requires a separate heat source. Direct-burning incense (or "combustible incense") is lit directly by a flame and then fanned or blown out, leaving a glowing ember that smoulders and releases fragrance. Direct-burning incense is either a paste formed around a bamboo stick, or a paste that is extruded into a stick or cone shape.
Ten Virtues of Incense
Many years ago, an unnamed Japanese monk explained the ten virtues of incense as he saw them.
Mindful to its purpose, a bee journeys through the waning summer season
1. Incense allows for communication with the transcendent
2. Incense purifies the mental and physical bodies
3. Incense rids impurities and brings harmony
4. Incense alerts the mind and senses
5. Incense serves as a companion in solitude
6. Incense brings peace and calms the mind when busy
7. One does not tire of incense when it is in plenty
8. A little incense can cause much satisfaction
9. Age does not change the efficacy of incense
10. Daily use of incense does not cause harm