Why Burn Incense at a Chinese Temple

Plan your Beijing tour? Visiting a buddhist temple in Beijing or other parts of China helps you understand the Chinese traditional culture and religion.

Check ou my another article How to Visit Lama Temple for more information.

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 itinerant incense hawks are trying to pester you into buying incense sticks. So why burn incenses?

A foreign Buddhist at Lama Temple in Beijing

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.

Yonghe Hall ( Hall of Harmony and Peace ) is the main palace in the temple

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
Giving or requesting
Giving or requesting
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.

Add on

Top 10 Mosques in Beijing
Top 10 Buddhist Temples in Beijing
How to Visit Lama Temple in Beijijng
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Top 10 Religious Sites in Beijing
Beijing Religion Tour

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings

How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Best Time to Visit Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

2 thoughts on “Why Burn Incense at a Chinese Temple

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

  2. 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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