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Thread: A Good Incense?

  1. #1

    A Good Incense?

    Dumb question number 2: what is/are some good incense? I'm in the woods, so no stores around but I do have The Monastery Store catalogue, and of course good ole amazon. I can't remember what I used to use, but that's what happens when you fall off a building and land on your head. (No, I really did.)


  2. #2
    I don't use incense all the time, but when I do, it's Morning Star sandlewood. I stockpiled it a long time ago. I'm pretty sure it's available on Amazon. It's very good. I don't burn it often because my wife has asthma. Usually once a week for zazenkai.

    泰 Entai (Bill)
    "trying to shovel smoke with a pitchfork in the wind "- John Lennon

  3. #3
    Hey Fugu,

    I don't burn incense to much as there can be some health issues with it, but when I do I burn Shoyeido Incense.

    They are nice as I can break just a little piece off when I do burn them. =)

    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  4. #4
    Nokiba moss garden is my favorite. Smells like zen... mossy zen.

  5. #5

    Incense is lovely, as the scent brings our olfactory senses into the sacred ... and the wafting smoke and falling ash teaches how our lives merge into the air, as all is impermanent. I enjoy incense.

    Nonetheless, I had to cut way back ... especially in small, poorly ventilated rooms ... due to allergies and pneumonia. Like second hand smoke has even been shown to be mildly carcinogenic ... so please use in a well ventilated room. On the other hand, most of those scientific studies on incense and cancer seem to be from Chinese altars ...

    ... and the way they use incense there is quite something ...

    Cough cough.

    Incense can be lovely, so follow your nose on incense and enjoy. There are other options too:

    How about the invisible incense, seen clearly with only the mind's eye?

    Or how about the unlit incense stick, which burns brightly in the heart?

    Or how about lighting the stick briefly, then putting the lit end down into the sand ... thereby letting just a touch of smoke fill the room?

    I do all of the above from time to time.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Yuba City, California, USA
    Here are a few I enjoy regularly. Like Jundo said, in small spaces a little goes a long way.

    Kunmeido - Reiryo Koh (Sandalwood base, spicy) (Trivia: Reiryo Koh is the house incense at Eiheiji)
    Kunmeido - Reiyo Koh Medium (Sandalwood/Aloeswood base, mellow spice)
    Kunmeido - Reiyo Koh Aloeswood (Completely different from the other two, almost smells like a wet forest)
    Baieido - Byakudan (Sandalwood) I burn more of this than anything.
    Fu-in - Sandalwood (Smells like wet sandalwood, very nice)
    Shoyeido - Haku-un (smells like soft)
    Shoyeido - Evening Zen (like a spicy Sandalwood with a touch of floral)

    If you want to read a little more about the world of incense, you might have a look at the this blog:
    There are some great reviews on there that might help you select a scent that "does it" for you.


    明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

  7. #7
    Hey Fugu,

    Not a dumb question at all! I use incense as a timer for my sitting instead of the old alarm clock. After some testing and experimenting, I found a kind that burns for exactly 4O minutes. So maybe this is also something to consider when making a choice? Hard to say what the brand is since its all Chinese to me. I'll see if I can find out if you want?


    stich by stich....

  8. #8
    Hi Fugu

    My favourites are from Garuda Trading in the UK and like Jundo I am mindful only to burn small amounts in a well ventilated room. The traditional Japanese varieties smell more natural than the Indian ones like Nag Champa for example, though.

    Middle Path
    Golden Pavillion

    They also stock some £70-£80 incenses that I imagine are quite lovely but well out of my price range (and better the money go to a good cause).


  9. #9
    Hi Fugu,

    I tend to use Nippon Kodo Mainichi-Koh incense. The sandalwood incense is lovely and not very smokey.

    Last edited by Genshin; 12-24-2013 at 04:21 PM.

  10. #10
    An easy alternative to avoid the smoke and particulates is just to pinch a bit of lavender to nose and altar as an offering.

  11. #11
    Hi Fugu, I use the same thing as Matt, just as he says, nice fragrance low smoke. I still use it quite often when I am able to have a room to myself (and I often have the window open). For granulated incense I use Nippon Kodo Gozan.
    Like Jundo suggested, if my family is around, i light it then quickly/shortly put it out. I light it, bows, chant, then return and put it lit side into the ashes.


  12. #12
    I am very sensitive to the smell of incense, so I rarely burn it. As an alternative, I have a lotus-shaped candle holder and I burn beeswax candles. However, I find those candles burn for a very short time and then they are done. So, as Jundo suggested, I have an unlit candle, and an unlit incense stick on my alter almost all the time


  13. #13
    I second what Shingen said, I really enjoy Shoyeido incense.

    My dad also got me Gonesh and Prasad incense a while back, so I burn that sometimes too.


  14. #14
    Hello all

    Great reading all the suggestions of good incense and I just found this site which might well be useful for those of us in the UK and Europe:

    At the moment I am enjoying the scent coming from the Norway Spruce tree in the living room!


  15. #15
    I burn Nag Champa; readily available locally and inexpensive. Having burned it ceremonially for 35 years or so, my sense organs associate it readily with sacred space (and my mate likes it; an important point). It burns for about 45 minutes, more-or-less.
    I also have a large box of lovely Japanese incense a Dharma sister brought me from Japan; delicate and subtle, with virtually no smoke. As I can't read Japanese, I've no idea what it is, other than a thoughtful gift. They burn 30 minutes, and I rarely burn them but for special occasions and the Repentance Gatha.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  16. #16
    I think Shoyeido is about the best incense there is. But the incense, particularly the Hakubai Lotus, from Nippon Kodo is also really nice.
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  17. #17
    Here is also some recommended incense, smells of Buddha ...

    But just a little hard to recognize Buddha for the untrained nose.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-27-2013 at 01:21 AM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Here is also some recommended incense, smells of Buddha ...

    But just a little hard to recognize Buddha for the untrained nose.

    Gassho, J
    Excellent reminder, Jundo!!


  19. #19
    Member bayamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
    Thank you Seimyo for that blog link, i enjoyed it!
    Oh, yeah. If I didn't have inner peace, I'd go completely psycho on all you guys all the time.
    Carl Carlson

  20. #20
    mmmmmm garbage truck! My son's favorite!

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    mmmmmm garbage truck! My son's favorite!
    HA! Now if I could only find WetDog and HorseDung I'd be in 7th heaven!


  22. #22 many good pointers. Think I'll make a list and buy one of everything. Wonder how much that would cost?

    Years ago I had a very nice Tibetan incense that I really liked, but have no idea what the name was. Does anybody know if there is a 'standard' Tibetan used by the majority of people? Or are they as varied as the Japanese?

    Once again, thank you everybody. I'll think of you all fondly when I light them.


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