Burn No Incense
The title above is meant to be a bit of an attention grabber. “What?” you might say, “leave the incense alone? This is sacrilegious.” Maybe it is but if what I say has good reason behind it then maybe the message could mean the prolonging of your life. My doctor from Burlington, Ontario conveyed to me that one particular order of Buddhist monks in the orient all got cancer from having exposure to burning incense. And recently when speaking with a friend of mine in Texas, he expressed that an acquaintance of his was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was not a smoker nor anyone else around, and then it hit her that the incense she had been using for her pooja (daily religious rite) must be the source.
I’ve been visiting many temples over the years locally and you need not look up to the ceiling for all the accumulation of black soot, one of the sources being the burning of incense. The use of three one foot long sticks makes sense for a breezy outdoor type of shrine where fumes that are actually perfumes can easily escape into the atmosphere and leave no tarnish. Surely, the aroma is pleasing to the Krishna deity, but should a powerhouse of three smoking sense be always the standard in closed and sometimes small temple rooms? And when lit several times a day?
Frankly some brands of incense just stink. I don’t know about all of you meditators out there, but I’ve been gagging lately from the over induced stuff, and I prefer a pine scented mountain air scenario. I like my visits to Saranagati where I can see the winter green needles being offered to Krishna, and once offered, those aromatic needles make their way to your nostrils with a pleasurable explosion. It’s all natural and organic.
This leads to my question, have you checked the ingredients on the package of your incense lately? If there is no list, you have every reason to be a skeptic and denounce the product. You know as well as I that profit hungry manufacturers do anything to fill their coffer and that the expense is people’s health, and even in the name of using devotional paraphernalia.
Today I had met a number of families. Some of whom I visited and some who came to hear me speak. Practically all of them burned incense for their pooja. A good number of them took my card, The Walking Monk; I’m hoping they read this blog which encourages them to think twice about their package of smelly sticks.
You have to ask yourself, “Do I have something worship worthy? Or is it no better than a pack of cigarettes?” and you know what they do. Of course I’m suggesting that we should light incense and offer it to your deity, but be selective, be smart.