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Photographer's Note

Photo taken again at Longshan Temple in Taipai, Taiwan

Burning Incense means paying respect to Buddha.
The aroma from the smoke can please Buddha
The smoke is key

Incense stands for ethics and morality. It is often burned in tempes like those in Taipei and thousands of others across Asia. But these offerings only have meaning if the follower also has right conduct, which essentially means to avoid behavior that may be harmful to others. Incense Burning also reminds the practitioner of the path of moderation – a humble way of life.

The incense, when burned also represents life from the time a flame appears til it is finally extinguished. Both candles and incense have an existence span. The offerings lead to the accumulation of merit during life. Merit could mean to some the gaining a better next life or for others the way out of this life toward something else better.

First, light three+ incense sticks. Every stick must be lit, but make sure the flames go out. This can be achieved by elegantly waiving your incense rapidly through the air. Once your incense is safely burning, hold the sticks between your palms and near your forehead, face the temple and start praying. Be warned; it is very important that you hold the incense high up against your head, and not at chest height or lower. It is very disrespectful toward Buddha to hold your incense low. Bow three times in the direction of the temple, then (no always done) turn to your right and repeat this pattern until you have bowed in all four directions. When you’ve finished, plant your incense in the heavily smoking bronze bathtub on legs located somewhere in the courtyard of the temple.

David

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Additional Photos by Dr David Reed Thomas (drt100) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 340 W: 74 N: 802] (3714)
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