Fun little project
Sweet! (I’m a fan of Sandalwood.)
I like cucumber incense a lot. Not something I would have imagined as a scent, but it’s surprisingly lovely - very clean and refreshing.
Huge fan of incense and incense holders… in my case it is sort of a pre-requisite for the job!
I have a selection of Japanese incense that range from every day use to ‘only at my own funeral’ in terms of quality and cost (i.e. US$70 a single stick)
Likewise i have bought/made/used almost every type of holder there is (not the Eastern Orthodox Christian censor though ) but after all these years i still settle for a simple open holder filled with incense ash. My current one is an antique from the 1600’s which was a rather special gift.
They use that a lot in soaps…it is kind of crisp smelling. I can see it as an incense.
Yowch! I buy the Sandalwood from a little store in Disney World, and it’s the only place I’ve ever seen it.
So when any family members go on vacay, I insist that they buy me boxes of the stuff. It ain’t cheap, but it ain’t $70 a stick. Chuckle!
(But use it before your funeral, or you won’t get to appreciate it much!)
In Zen incense is especially symbolic because it represents the hard work we make during Meditation.
The parable as i teach it basically goes: “Just as the incense burns to release a beautiful aroma so too does our meditation bring immediate results. But those results, like the smell, are short-lived and easily dissipated. The real work is reflected in the ash.
Every time we meditate we add a small amount of ash, over time that ash fills the bowl, then a barrel then the whole world.
A worthy student meditates to make sure something, no matter how small is left behind, instead of chasing the immediate but fleeting peace”
Ha ha! I know THAT feel.
I once set up an out of the way stop-over on an Oz to Europe flight just to buy some Formosan Oolong & Quan Yin tea and incense from a specialty invite-only shop in Taipei. That stop-over ended up costing me only slightly less than the whole bloody flight
I used to practice a kind of meditation when I was in college. Didn’t sleep much, but 15 minutes of meditation twice a day got me through school. It’s amazing how restorative it is.
I used to become one with the furniture. (I know it sounds completely nuts, but that worked for me.) No thoughts impinged, and no sounds. Totally black.
Maybe that’s not meditation, because I never trained in it or anything…it just came naturally.
So when people call me a “block-head”, there’s a “grain” of truth to it. (Rare double pun!)
We have 2 saying for this:
“Women experience it quicker but Men teach it easier"
"Letting go of what you know is the first step to being wise”
Certainly time and a proper teacher are massively important but they are not essential and i would highly recommend putting aside as much time as you can each day just to re-centre.
I only meditate 1-2 hours a day now, which for me is like a marathon runner jogging to the store for some bread and milk - but it is always better to come back home than sleep in the centre of a busy highway (meditatively speaking)
What’s amazing to me is how much “noise” we all carry around in our heads on a continual basis. I keep a running dialog all the time…should I do this or that, or what can I do to fix this…it’s astounding how just turning that off for a few minutes can change your whole outlook.
‘Washing Machine Mind’ is the name i use for it.
Until you turn it off you do not know what peace can be like
I just dropped $120 for incense for adoration and for funerals. I like the stuff from Holy Rood Guild. More floral than resin. Regrets that I didn’t get copal in Mexico.
this is pretty. unfortunately i do not share y’all’s love of incense regrettably, so i’ll sit back and enjoy the box. :-).
LOL! That’s how I treat laser projects - wash & dry the brain
I didn’t realize you were a Zen practitioner (and sounds like a priest?)–nice to see a fellow sitter. I’m so curious about your $70/stick incense. I met one of my best friends (who’s now a Soto priest) while he was working at Shoyeido, and the occasional top-shelf incense he passed on to me gave me a real love of the good stuff (and an altered view of the ditchweed-level Nag Champa that’s all over Boulder). My friend jokingly called Shoyeido’s most expensive incense “Enlightens Upon Smelling” (it was actually called Translucent Path). It only costs about $22/stick, but that stuff is amazing. My friend said that Leonard Cohen would call occasionally and order it in bulk.
For the unenlightened (see what I did there?), Shoyeido is a Japanese incense company that’s been owned by the same family for 12 generations, and they supply most of the Zen temples in Japan.
Yeah, i am ordained in the Myoshinji lineage of Rinzai Zen.
I was a shugyo at Sogenji in Okayama for nearly 10 years and ordained under Shoda Harada Roshi; helped run our monastery in America and set up one of our monasteries in Germany.
Unfortunately the Zen seed can only find shallow soil in Australia so we are not planning a Monastery here. I mostly teach private classes. I wish i could find students here with a tenth of the dedication as Leonard Cohen!
My best incense is hand-made and not available outside of the Myoshinji line but certainly I/we use Shoyeido as our ceremonial incense.
I also use a hand-made incense from Taiwan and a wonderful powdered incense from India thanks to some Tibetan friends i had the good fortune to meet when i lived in Bodhgaya just before i was accepted into a Japanese pre-Monastery. Unfortunately i dont know the name of the Indian stuff, which i should learn considering the trouble it has given me through Australian customs in the past!
Fascinating! I am always amazed by the diversity of this group
Gasho for your work spreading the Dharma, friend, wherever the seeds may blow. I studied Soto Zen under several different teachers in the Bay Area, then went to college at Naropa University, where the practice is mostly Vajrayana. I’m not a big Trungpa fan, so I ended up studying Kwan Um Zen with my friend, the artist/priest Titus O’Brien, and his teacher, Soeng Hyang Soen Sa Nim (Bobbie Rhodes).
I imagine hand-making incense is a fantastic process for mindfulness. All the senses are engaged, and so pleasurably. The good stuff is impossible to describe.