a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


Rules for Offering Incense

[originally obtained through ]

This commentary on contemporary Tibetan Tantric 
Bhuddist precepts for the proper burning of 
incense comes from the Purple Lotus website at


Subject: Rules for Offering Incense

By Grand Master Sheng-yen Lu 
Translated by Yuan Zheng Tang 

[Translated from page 252 of "Achievement of a
Rainbow Light Body Volume 6," a book by Grand
Master Lu.] 

    The incense that we use to make
offerings to the Buddha comes from many
sources -- Japan, India, Tibet and Taiwan
just to name a few. Since there are many
kinds of incense, we have to pay attention
to the quality. Certain low grades of
incense may adversely affect one's health.
To show one's respect to the Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas, one should use the best
grades of incense. Thus, in our daily
offering, we should only use those fine
grades of incense that will not generate
bad effects on one's health. 

    In Seattle's Chinatown, I came across
several shops that use strange, fake
incense. They offer three sticks of incense
in front of General Kwan (a guardian god).
On top of each incense is a small bulb,
which emits a red light when the
electricity is turned on. From the
traditional viewpoint, one should not use
fake incense, because it is cheating the
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with fake
offerings. Likewise, if one recites the
name of the Buddha by means of records or
tapes, then one does not recite it with
one's heart. Such acts will not result in
any merit. 

    When one lights the incense, one should
not blow out the flame with one's mouth.
This is because one may have impure breath,
and blowing out the flame with impure
breath will pollute the incense. One should
instead use one's hand to put out the
flame. Since many people suffer from oral
diseases and have bad breath, it is always
better to avoid using one's mouth to blow
out the flame of all incense and candles. 

    Also, if the incense sticks extinguish
half way through, it is better to remove
the incense rather than rekindle it, for
this is not a good omen. According to
tradition, an incense stick should be
burned from the top to the bottom. If it
extinguishes in the middle, simply throw it

    In Taiwan, I saw people take burning
incense sticks and place them upside down
in the urn to extinguish them, because they
had to leave for other commitments. This is
a bad habit, because extinguishing an
incense stick signifies that one no longer
wishes to worship that Bodhisattva. To
extinguish an incense means one is
discharging the god. One should avoid doing

    There is much to know about incense. I
mentioned "emergency incense" before. That
is when you have an urgent matter, and need
to immediately entreat the help of the
Bodhisattva. Normally, we light one end of
the incense stick. During such an exigency,
we may light both ends of the incense
stick, then place the stick in the urn. The
passing Bodhisattva will stop to listen to
your urgent request. So there are
"emergency" incense, "headless" incense
(incense that is half-burned), and
"discharging" incense (incense that is put
upside down in the urn). 

    It is virtuous to offer the best
quality of incense to the Buddha. Incense
that is of poor quality will give off a bad
smell, and may affect one's health.
Therefore, it is important to know the
quality of different kinds of incense. 

    Om Mani Padme Hum. 


posted by

catherine yronwode 

The Esoteric Archive ---------
Karezza and Sacred Sex ------


The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races