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The Spirituality of Incense

Updated on September 18, 2014

Ancient Incense

Incense has played a strong role within the celebration and practice of many religions throughout the centuries.

It is used within natural alternative therapies to cleanse and purify the mind,and to also uplift and relax, enhancing many moods depending on your needs.

Used within mediation practice,it enhances both body and mind, adding a beautifully ritualistic aspect to meditation and aiding with this ancient practice

Incense Within Eastern Culture

In the temples of the East, incense is used within religious rituals throughout Korea, Japan and Vietnam and in ancient Asian Buddhist ceremonies.

Incense is used in these ceremonies to purify the surrounding areas and to summons the Buddhist gods during prayer and worship.

Inside Chinese Buddhist temples, incense is spread in the inner spaces with thick sandalwood coiled incense, and small and large bundles are lit and waved above the head whilst bowing in prayer to the statue or shrine.

Worshipers hold or place individual sticks of incense in front of the shrines to pray and to offer thanks to Buddha.

This is how incense has been used by the ancient Chinese and Buddhist of today to pay homage to their Lord Buddha.

Sandalwood Incense
Sandalwood Incense

No ashes are lighter than those of incense and few things burn out sooner.

Incense Within Western Culture

In the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches of the west a thurible is used to spread incense throughout the church whist the service takes place.

Inside the bowl of the thurible are red-hot charcoal coals which are sprinkled and spooned with the peddle grains or powder of the incense.

The incense is blessed with a prayer whilst the grains are spooned onto the coals.

The thurible is closed and taken by the chains and slowly swung back and forth to release the incense by the priest or deacon,down the main isle of the church.

The main incense used in these ceremonies are frankincense,myth and co pal.

Holy must be the man who treads - the incense shrine within: and holy is a man alone - whose soul is free from sin.

Incense and Meditation.

It is thought that incense most likely originated from the smoke of burning different woods.Each having different fragrances which later were mixed with oils to make the incense we know of today.

Incense is use as a meditation technique or tool, as it helps to quiet the mind,increase concentration and induces relaxation.

Some people enjoy the smell of incense whilst others feel that it helps with their concentration whilst meditating.

Frankincense, Sage, Cinnamon and Jasmine are just some fragrant incense that are used in mediation. Find the scent that is enjoyable to you and brings about positive feelings-when you smell it and meditate with it.

A simple mediation with incense is to light the incense, closing the eyes, begin meditation breathing and focus on the aroma of the incense and how it makes you feel.

Try out different fragrances and scents to see how you react to each one and find that one or two that suit you best for this practise.

The ancient art of meditation along with ancient incense as a tool to inner peace.

Inflamed by greed,incensed by hate,confused by delusion,over come by them,obsessed by mind,a man chooses for his own afflictions,for others' afflictions,for afflictions of both experiences,pain and grief.

Do you burn incense?

Incense Burning
Incense Burning

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you love incense as much as I do.

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    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 

      5 years ago from London

      There's a long established reason for using to incense in ritual. Certain resins and essential oils alter bodily function and help create a more contemplative state. Frankincense is the most notable as it relaxes the lungs and deepens breathing, thus increasing a sense of calmness and aiding meditation. It has been used in religious rites for many thousands of years. Known in the West because it was given as a gift at the Nativity within the Christian tradition; it is used in most denominations of that religion even today.

    • visualNZ profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice Lens, Incense is a great form of aromatherapy if you burn quality natural incense.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Incense is very relaxing for me and I do find it as an aid in meditation as well. A very nice presentation of the spiritual aspects of burning incense.

    • spritequeen lm profile image

      spritequeen lm 

      7 years ago

      Great lens! Very interesting info. Love the way it makes my house smell!

    • ZenandChic profile image


      7 years ago

      I used to love to burn nag champa incense.

    • choosehappy profile image


      7 years ago from US

      *blessed by a squid angel*;)

    • sheilamarie78 profile image


      7 years ago from British Columbia

      Well done!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Very interesting lens on incense.

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I learned some things about insense here, thanks...and this lens also reminds me that I ran out and so ... been looking for a better source to buy it, way too expensive in the little shops I've visited.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice job on this lens. You or some of your visitors might also enjoy reading my lens on essential oil diffusers.

    • I-sparkle profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nice lens. The content was very informative and interesting.

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 

      7 years ago

      Great lens. I love incense.

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 

      7 years ago from Houston

      Brought back memories. I used to always have sage on hand.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love burning incense, but it has been a while. This has certainly given me the incentive to burn some today!

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 

      7 years ago

      A woman at work is always talking about incense, she wants to bring it in to work. I wouldn't mind a nice relaxing aroma

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      7 years ago from So Cal

      I am an aging hippie and very familiar with incense but have not used it in a while. I think that it's something I might want to pick up again.

    • TheresaMarkham profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nicely done! My secretary often burns a light incense in the office & the clients usually enjoy it :)

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      The incense in church always made me choke - even the thought of it does now


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