(public domain image from www.pixabay.com)
When I sit to meditate, I begin by lighting up a stick of incense. Here's why:
- to honor the triple gem of the Buddha, his dharma and the sangha;
- it's fragrance spreads widely just as ethical conduct and good behavior brings benefits to many;
- burning of an incense stick is a reminder to burn away one's negative qualities;
- incense rises and dissolves into the air and is, therefore a subtle lesson about the transient nature of existence;
- as incense burns, the ashes fall and scatter, a reminder that the mind is easily scattered and unfocused if one does not pay attention and work at managing it.