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.

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).


Marcel Elschot
Marcel E4 years ago

Thank you for sharing

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago


Kamryn M.
Kay M5 years ago

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

Angela N.
Angela N5 years ago


Anastasia J.
Anastasia J5 years ago

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

Howard C.
.6 years ago

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.

peggy p.
peggy p6 years ago

omgoodness and so true..

Carole R.
Carole R6 years ago


Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

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.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago

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