Why Burn Incense at a Chinese Temple

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Plan your China tour? Visiting a buddhist temple in China helps you understand the Chinese traditional culture and religion. Buddhist temples to Chinese are akin to churches to the western people. Very often around a temple there are plentiful street front stores selling incenses. Some mobile incense hawks are trying to pester you into buying incense sticks. So why burn incenses?

The reasons behind the burning of incenses are manifold. One factor is that Buddha would appear in the smoke produced by burning incenses. In other words, the smoke is a soul link between worshippers and the Buddha. Incense burning reminds people to burn themselves, to give, and to sacrifice though many people still burn for money, for love, for health and the list could be much longer.

There is a Chinese saying that goes like this: 命由己造,福由己求 which literally means “Our fate and happiness are made by ourselves, not given by the Buddha or somebody else”.

A huge incense burner is vertically placed with incense sticks burnt by worshippers
A huge incense burner

A huge incense burner

While burning incense sticks, what’s in mind? Giving or requesting?

Giving or requesting

Giving or requesting

Burning incenses for good scores or a handsome boyfriend, or…
Burning incenses for good scores

Burning incenses for good scores

People have their own reasons for incense stick burning.
People have their own reasons for incense stick burning.

People have their own reasons for incense stick burning.

 

Any questions, just drop a line.

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2 Responses to “Why Burn Incense at a Chinese Temple”

  1. Brandon says:

    I have a question regarding incense burning in temples. Is there a traditional or common fragrance of incense burned in Buddhist temples?

  2. Philip Cheung says:

    I have a question, a friend of mine passed away recently and I want to continue honoring her memory. For my family we have a shrine for my grandfather and light incense but I am unsure what is proper procedure to go on lighting incense for her.

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