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Ten Virtues of Incense – Wisdom from a Zen Monk

Ten Virtues of Incense – Wisdom from a Zen Monk

Incense has long been a traditional part of every culture.

It is most likely that with the discovery of fire, scraps of resinous wood were
tossed upon the flames, causing a remarkable fragrance to climb up
among a mystic smoke. Around the campfire, shoulders relaxed, voices
softened, all was calm and safe. Mankind had discovered the power of
fragrant smoke, or incense.

Incense is so revered in Japan that they have an incense ceremony that
elevates the practice of burning incense into a spiritual act, just as
they have a tea ceremony.

Here is a thoughtful list of ten virtues of incense that were believed
to have been written by an anonymous Zen monk of the sixth century.
Discover some benefits of incense you may not know!

1. Incense brings communication and the transcendent.
2. It purifies mind and body.
3. It removes uncleanliness.
4. It brings alertness.
5. It is a companion to solitude.
6. In the midst of activity, it brings a moment of peace.
7. When there is plenty, one never tires of it.
8. When there is little, still one is satisfied.
9. Age does not change its efficacy.
10. Used every day, it does no harm.

Read more: Home, Feng Shui & Organizing

Adapted from The Essence of Incense, by Diana Rosen (Storey Books). Copyright (c) 2001, by Diana Rosen. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from The Essence of Incense, by Diana Rosen (Storey Books, 2001).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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The Essence of Incense

Being Fragrance into the Home. Find balance in your life, your home, and yourself with incense now


+ add your own
6:41AM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

Thank you for sharing

5:29AM PST on Dec 19, 2012


7:46AM PDT on May 24, 2012

I'm picky about what scents I like, but I do love good incense :)

10:18PM PDT on May 21, 2012


4:09PM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

I love burning incense and dried herbs... Warm and comforting.

3:50PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

I burn incense everyday in my home, and have done so for the past 25 years. I have bought incense from many places, in many countries - personally I prefer incense from the Indian sub-continent - Pakistan is my particular favourite but Indian incense is very good too.

10:57PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

omgoodness and so true..

8:58PM PST on Jan 5, 2012


12:24PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

I have some incense sticks that were made in India and they smell just lovely when burning. I do feel a sense of calm and peace when burning incense. I strongly believe it cleanses the atmosphere and removes negative energy all while providing a beautiful fragrance. I also believe in the power of aromatherpy so burning incense comes naturally to me.

5:24AM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

I've read some kinds of incense can cause cancer.

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