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liminal_luke

Incense

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I´m contemplating some incense purchases and wondering if anybody here uses it as an aid to meditation or for relaxation, stress-reduction, or health. What kind do you like? How do you use it? Thanks!

 

Liminal

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I like sandalwood...

 

I think that's what's burning in all the Taoist temples I've been in.

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Nag Champa is the classic incense in stick form. I like it, anyway. Japanese incenses are sometimes quite good, but expensive.

 

I use a coal burner and lay a variety of things on it. I have a pretty big collection and always buy interesting things when I come across them. There's pretty much always something smoking in our apartment, and in my qigong classes. I feel it's a tremendous enhancement as it connects experiences to the ur-senses, thereby increasing their effect on us. Even when the sense of smell fades with disuse and age, the olfactory memory runs very, very deep. Right to the marrow, so to speak.

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Nag Champa was my favorite for years.

 

Now it's too pungent for me, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for incense.

 

I like to burn it in new-to-me places. A new house, bedroom, vehicle. Even if you (or I) don't buy into any spiritual-cleansing property theories, a familiar smell and the act of walking around getting it in all corners/rooms etc helps me to feel comfy and at home.

 

I haven't started using it in meditation, or health, because I prefer clean air for that :)

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Ah yes, Nag Champa. Haven´t burned any in years. These days I mostly go with the American Fred Soll incense, cedar and sage, that kind of thing. Thanks for the suggestion Soaring Crane.

 

Liminal

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I got some flak one time for mentioning that i liked Nag Champa. The guy said i was supporting child labour and Sai Baba, whose enterprises are supposedly behind this brand. I wasn't aware of this, and never bothered to even find out if it was true. Have tried a wide variety of incense, but still come back to Nag Champa. A lot of friends use this brand as well. We all agree that its pleasant, wont choke the nostrils, and economical.

 

I grew up with incense, morning, noon & nite, and weekly doses of burning camphor in my house, which my dad uses for his pujas. Sometimes, looking from the outside, with all that smoke, its like the house was on fire. Rather surprising that a fire engine never showed up outside before.

 

I do daily prayers in the mornings, and that is when i would light one as an offering, together with 3 candles and 7 small cups of water. On special days i would offer flowers as well.

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I use a variety. Sage is always around the house, Cedar, Sandalwood and Nag are regulars as well.

 

Over the last few years, though for working with in meditation or qigong, I prefer using an oil burner and a blend I happened across at a retreat.

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I prefer natural herbs myself over those made in a lab put over..... well just guess how stick incense is made; I'll spare everyone the details, it's sort of funny though :D.

 

I recommend everyone try making some of their own incenses as well :).

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Good quality is hard to find. Usually, unless you have spent lots of money and made sure you actually get pure from a good source, its not 'pure' anything regardless of what they say. As a general rule, anything from India is not pure at the moment, and lot of their good brands have gone down in quality over last few years.

 

In the past I have flown to Hong Kong to get some pure sandalwood incense from special shops and even then there are grades you need to wade through, but it seems the daoist/buddhist and also Japanese traditions are best at sourcing high grade stuff.

 

If you can't be bothered finding really good sources, some of the Japanese big brands will have good quality stuff at their really expensive end of the range. Shoyeido has some great expensive stuff including their pure sandalwood and aloeswood (also known as agar agar wood?). http://www.shoyeido.com

 

Sometimes if you are lucky your local buddhist temple shop will stock some good sandalwood or aloeswood, but you need to ask for their best/purest/most expensive stuff but even then they may only have average mixed stuff.

 

Sandalwood used to be just Indian sandalwood but real Indian sandalwood is almost impossible to buy because they have almost run out of it in India (endangered species) and they have failed to cultivate properly in India but it is now grown in other countries (but will be slightly different as its grown in different soil/country etc). Australian sandalwood is native to Australia and slightly different in aroma, most people can't tell the difference, even connoisseurs. I prefer it to be honest, its less dark smell. Its slightly cheaper. There is also Indian sandalwood grown there too.

 

Incense is good/powerful for so many things, but the quality of incense is really important. Usually clearing negative energy of all kinds from rooms/houses/spaces and your bodies/energy bodies as well. Also good for setting the tone and setting your intention for a time/space. My favourites remain Aloewood/Sandalwood but I will also use some Frankincense/Sage when the time is right. I also love the elaborate Japanese blends.

 

I have also recently gotten in burning oils a lot as well, and thats another arena thats equally worth attention. Anything good quality just blisses me out! Amazing

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I like incense very much - I've tried a wide variety of Indian, Japanese, Taiwanese,Tibetan, Nepalese, and Bhutanese.

I've found that I prefer Tibetan style incense.

 

A few of my favorites:

Inexpensive -

Thrangu Tara Abbey - http://thrangutaraabbey.org/?rt=pagelink/index&id=hand-made-incense-of-tara-abbe

 

Moderate -

Bosen Pythoncidere Incense - http://www.amazon.com/Pythoncidere-Incense-Stick-Natural-D007T/dp/B00170SDPQ/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A1IDTXKZGC2QFA

Nub Gon Monastery - Lama Chodpa Incense - especially the "purification" and "meditation" varieties - http://lamachodpa.com/

 

Expensive -

Dzogchen Monastery - Lotus Ground Incense - http://www.essenceoftheages.com/dzogchen/dzogchen1.html

Tibetan Medical College - Holy Land Incense - http://www.essenceoftheages.com/tibmed/tib1.html

 

All of these can be ordered from Essence of the Ages which is a very good source for all kinds of incense.

Check out the Olfactory Rescue Service - https://olfactoryrescueservice.wordpress.com/

Enjoy!

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Does anyone know of a way to grind pieces of wood into a powder (besides using sandpaper or something)? Like a really high quality herb grinder/powderer that is inexpensive.

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Steve,

 

Funny you mention those high-end Tibetan incenses and the olfactory rescue service. The Tibetan Medical College one was exactly what I was thinking about getting on the strength of the ORS recommendation. Sure it´s expensive compared to some other incense but still a bargain compared to the top-shelf Japanese stuff.

 

Also, while I love natural fragrances of all kinds, my sense of smell isn´t really the best. I got some Hinoki cedar incense once (Baiedo I think) that I really liked when I could actually smell it. I had to be right on top of the stick fanning the smoke into my nose.

 

My understanding is that the Tibetan incenses are less subtle?

 

Liminal

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Does anyone know of a way to grind pieces of wood into a powder (besides using sandpaper or something)? Like a really high quality herb grinder/powderer that is inexpensive.

At home, we burn sandalwood chips in a designated burner. There's no need to powderise it.

 

Natural-Australia-font-b-Sandalwood-b-fo

 

 

 

The burner looks something like this:

 

fu_temple_burner.jpg
Edited by C T
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At home, we burn sandalwood chips in a designated burner. There's no need to powderise it.

 

Natural-Australia-font-b-Sandalwood-b-fo

 

 

 

The burner looks something like this:

 

fu_temple_burner.jpg

 

Thanks...that's exactly the wood I want to use, as well, but there are also a couple of other ingredients...so it'd be nice to get a smooth burn of all mixed together. I might just end up using sandpaper to powder it.

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At home, we burn sandalwood chips in a designated burner. There's no need to powderise it.

 

Natural-Australia-font-b-Sandalwood-b-fo

 

 

 

The burner looks something like this:

 

fu_temple_burner.jpg

funny you should show that. I just saw such a Fu dog stand (older and on stilts) at an antique store and was very interested in it. Unfortunately I've sacrificed my office/meditation room for a kids bedroom and don't have a good place to use it.

 

<I can imagine myself, shrunken down, having to pick it up with my fore arms ala Kung Fu series, to prove my worth to the temple :ninja: >

Edited by thelerner
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Here are a couple links, for reference only (I have no idea about the quality of these particular products) of some of the things I enjoy the most on my burner:

 

Styrax (number one, love it. Use it in addition to other things)

 

Dragon's Blood (not really for enjoyment, rather for area clearing/cleansing)

 

Copal (a lot of variations on this stuff)

 

Mastix (couldn't find it in English)

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Thanks...that's exactly the wood I want to use, as well, but there are also a couple of other ingredients...so it'd be nice to get a smooth burn of all mixed together. I might just end up using sandpaper to powder it.

If i had a fairly large block of sandalwood, i know what i'd do... plane it, get the ribbons,

pulverise them in a food processor, and finally grind them in a clean spice grinder,

one where you can adjust how fine or coarse you want the granules to be. Long-ish process,

but much less demanding than sand-papering the wood. It'd take many hours sanding to

get the same volume from maybe 10 minutes work with the process mentioned.

 

Just a thought.

 

 

 

 

late edit: added missing word 'take' :D

Edited by C T
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Yes I'm sure there's a lot of glue and other nasty stuff in most incense.

 

Not glue usually, just manure as the base, then fake scents. Even my (and others apparently lol) Nag Champa.

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Time for some shameless self promotion ;)

 

www.enochian.org/incense.shtml

www.enochian.org/herbs.shtml

 

I sell dragonsblood for less than most, and no fillers.

 

You need those little round incense charcoals to burn the incenses though; I don't make stick incense.

 

But please, not 100 questions to go with the order, my prices are pretty low considering the quality of what goes in them.

Edited by BaguaKicksAss
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