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Japanese Incense-Morning Star sandalwood


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Morning Star sandalwood incense is one of our personal favorites here.  The sandalwood is a woody and dry scent.  This great little 50 stick pack comes with a burner to burn your incenses in.  These 50 stick packs of Morning Star are fun because they don’t cost an arm and a leg ($3.10 at Violet and Company), if you do like them there are enough in the pack to enjoy.  If you don’t like them you can give them to a friend to try and you aren’t out tons of money.  You can buy these through our Facebook Store for an additional 5% off (after liking our page 🙂 ) or you can get them in our eBay store or on our website

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See Yourself in Everyone


Buddha in Earh Touching Mudra

“Continue practicing until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth, in the child starving, in the political prisoner. Practice until you recognize yourself in everyone in the supermarket, on the street corner, in a concentration camp, on a leaf, in a dewdrop. Meditate until you see yourself in a speck of dust in a distant galaxy. See and listen with the whole of your being.

If you are fully present, the rain of Dharma will water the deepest seeds in your consciousness, and tomorrow, while you are washing the dishes or looking at the blue sky, that seed will spring forth, and love and understanding will appear as a beautiful flower.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~

Statue of Buddha in Earth Touching Mudra at Violet and Company Incense

What is Agarwood, Aloeswood, Jinko, Kyara, Oud?


“Gold is just dust when still in the ground, and oud

in its country of origin, is just another kind of firewood.”

~Muhammad Ibn Idris al-Shafi’i  767-820 C.E.

Agarwood bowl, 1786, commissioned by the Qianlong emperor of China. Carved with the 7 Buddhas and inscribed with poems

If we look back in history, we can connect this quote to the stated first discovery of Oud or agarwood in Japan.  It is said that a large log washed up on the beach and was gathered and burnt for firewood.  When the wood was burnt, it was discovered that this wood was very special indeed as it let off a perfume only the gods could have created. Agarwood has been a prized wood and scent for many centuries.

The Japanese made incense from this wood and called it Jinko, or “sinking wood”  because it was heavier than other wood and did not float well.   Agarwood is also called Aloeswood, Oud and Eagle-Wood around the world.

Agarwood is used in traditional Tibetan medicinal preparations and is called Eaglewood (unique, yellow, light & black).  Agarwood also has special uses in Chinese medicine.

The scent of Agarwood is musky, woodsy, rich and always original.  It has been all but impossible to correctly mimic this scent in synthetic preparations.

Agarwood comes from the center or “heartwood” of the Aquilara tree from Southeast Asia that has been infected by a fungus.  The tree is infected at the roots and in response, creates a thick, dark resin to protect itself from the infection.  This resin, and the wood that holds it is Agarwood.  The older the tree and the longer the infection has flourished within the tree, the more precious and fragrant the Agarwood.  There is no way to tell which trees in the wild have been infected with this fungus, so the practice is to randomly cut down trees or open their bark, looking for the dark resinous wood.  This practice has meant that Aquilara species trees in the wild in some countries are endangered.

Many countries have now created tree farms, in which Aquilara trees are specially grown, inoculated with fungus and then harvested after a minimum of seven years to get Agarwood.  It is said that these farmed trees don’t produce the same fragrance in their Agarwood as do trees in the wild, and the reason for this is not known at this time.

Most incenses found in the market contain a lower grade agarwood and are usually grown on a farm, because the cost of wild agarwood is formidable.  2.2 pounds of high quality agarwood sold for over $500 just 20 years ago and the price has only gone up since then. Using first quality agarwood would make the price of incense unaffordable for most people, so lower quality agarwoods are used.

Incenses that Violet and Company Incense carries that are inspired by or contain Agarwood are:  Balaji Nadal Oodh, Ramakrishnanada’s Rasa Lila Agarwood and Nippon Kodo’s Kyara Deluxe.

Nippon Kodo’s Kyara Deluxe 300 stick box

Being Good


“As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man.  There will still be business enough.” -Abraham Lincoln

Large Seated Buddha, 25 inches tall

I know a lawyer who really is a good man.

He appears to be kind and fair to every person, no matter who they are.

When he is spoken to, he seems to listen, no matter who is speaking to him.

He seems to strive for justice for all people and does his job with heart.

May we all be a good man, like he is.

Be kind and fair, listen when spoken to and do our jobs with heart and soul

-this is enough to change the world.

 

Message from Tibet


It is amazing that the Chinese government has contacted the city of Corvalis, Oregon in the USA to ask them to consider taking down a mural, depicting the brutality of the Chinese government against the people of Tibet.  Here is a picture of part of the mural.

The images show a man being beaten, two men set on fire and a city in turmoil.
Thanks to http://www.kptv.com/slideshow?widgetid=62400 for the picture of the mural.

It is important to not allow this to be silenced.  I have included an important message from Tibet below for education and knowledge.  These things can’t happen in secret and if the Chinese government is not ashamed of their actions, they would not try and quiet the truth.  We should do what we can to spread this message:  that the oppression, domination and extinction of a people will not be allowed.

Me-Tok-Ma Incense “We pray that your purchase and use of this incense will be beneficial to all beings.”


Me Tok Ma Dakini Incense by Siddharth Incenses is a tribute to the Dakini (Goddess) Me Tok Ma (the Flower Goddess).  It is made by Siddharth Incense, who added the prayer I put into the title of this blog post to their incense package.  We just received a new shipment from Nepal and Me-Tok-Ma Incense can be found here: ME-TOK-MA at Violet and Company Incense.

This incense is beautiful in thought and creation.  It is made with Kesar (Saffron), Tsampaka (White Champak-a sort of magnolia that is EXTREMELY FRAGRANT) and Pangpoey.  I could not figure out what Pangpoey is, so if anyone knows, please put it into the comments.   The incense is also made with other traditional Tibetan herbs according to the Men Ngak formula.

Thinking about Me-Tok-Ma Incense, and the prayer that comes with it, reminds me that the prayer that all beings benefit from even my smallest action is a blessing that is free to give-and yet  invaluable. It reminds me that the smallest, most ordinary action can indeed make a difference in the well-being of all beings.

Live with intention, don’t postpone and be happy.  This is beneficial to all beings.

Dakini Me Tok Ma The Flower Goddess Incense by Siddharth Incenses

Tibetan Rose (Gulab) Incense by Mandala Art and Incense-Nepal


to be immersed in a scent world,

even temporarily,

is to shift your consciousness

and to awaken to the moment more fully.  

~Mandy Aftel, Essence and Alchemy

 

We just got  Mandala Art and Incense’s Tibetan Rose (Gulab) incense, straight from Nepal.  This incense is incredible.  It is earthy and subtle with a good infusion of rose.  There is a muskiness about it that offsets the sweetness of the rose, creating a subtle balance.  The incense comes in a paper tube, with 30 sticks of incense inside.  It also contains a burner.  Each stick burns for approximately 60 minutes.

Be careful with this incense, it is delicate.  It is stickless, so the upside is that if it does break, you can just burn it in smaller chunks and none is wasted.

The incense does come with a burner, but our favorite way to burn it is in a bowl full of small rocks.  We put the incense in between the rocks to hold it up.  Some people use small bowls full of rice or sand to hold up their incense and burn multiple sticks at a time.

According to the manufacturer, Rose is a symbol of love and purity and Buddhists use it as an aid to meditation and prayer.  In aromatherapy, it is used to sooth emotions  such as sadness and resentment.

Photo of Rose (Gulab) incense

Photo of Rose (Gulab) incense

 

 

A Little Quiet Time


Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”

Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Without rests, music would not be music, it would just be a continual stream of noise. Without quiet time, we would not be able to regroup and relax. Silence is a very important and sometimes lacking thing in our lives.

I recently had to visit San Francisco, and was overwhelmed by the noise, activity and busyness of the city. Everywhere I went there was a car running, a person talking, a bus stopping with a loud hiss of hydraulic brakes. At night, the BART blew its whistle every 15 minutes until midnight, when either it stopped or I fell asleep. When I got back to my home in a small town, I was thankful to sit down on my back porch and hear absolutely nothing but the beating of my heart and the soft padding of my cats paws as she walked across the deck. If you live in a city like San Francisco, there is always some sort of noise that breaks through and disturbs quiet moments. If you live with others there may always be someone asking a question or talking to you about something. No matter what your situation today, there is almost always something or someone who fills the quiet time with noise.

Sometimes we don’t realize how inundated we are by sound. It is nice, once in awhile, to just go into a quiet place where you can be alone, and sit. Think whatever thoughts there are to be thought, listen to your own breathing and the comforting beat of your heart. It is nice to burn a nice, subtle incense during these times. I prefer VIVA Mainichi-Koh by Nippon Kodo. Koh means Sandalwood and Mainichi means “everyday”. This is just a subtle, everyday scent that inspires relaxation and joy and is perfect for enjoying quiet times.

What are the Different Forms of Incense-Part 2


 

Cone, Resin and Powder

Incense can be found in many forms.  It is most often seen as sticks or cones.  Last blog we talked about stick and coil incense.  This time I’d like to address cone, resin and powder incense.

Cone Incense: Cone incense is one of the most common forms of incense in the Western world. Cone incense is made of the same things that stick incense is made of: ground woods, gums, resins, herbs and aromatic oils. There is also a combustion agent added. Some use saltpeter, some use charcoal. Others use a natural substance called Makko, which comes from a tree. Because there is no wood core in cone incense, the chemical make up is a bit different than the stick incense, and there is no wood to mingle with the stick. For this reason, the smell of cone incense can be slightly different than the stick. If you are used to a stick incense and would like to try the same aroma in a cone form, be aware it may not be exactly the same experience you are used to.

Resin Incense: Resin incense is hardened sap from trees, bushes, shrubs.
It is one of the oldest and most natural forms of incense.  Resin incense is what is called a “non-combustible” incense, meaning that you must put it on something that is burning in order for it to burn and release its aroma.  Frankincense resin, Myrrh resin, Ylang Ylang as well as Rose resin all come from trees, shrubs and bushes.  Resin is very hard and can be broken up to burn smaller pieces.  Resins are not only used in meditation, resins are used by some in rituals.  Different resins can have different meanings or purposes depending on which ritual is being performed.

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powdered incense photo courtesy of Modern Dryad incense

Powder Incense: Powder incenses are simply either resins or incense materials such as roots, bark, flowers, etc. that have been ground into a powder (for example sandalwood powder).  Some, such as the sandalwood powder and the many incense powders at Modern Dryad Incense, are also non-combustible and must be burnt on charcoal or another burning medium, such as Makko (see above).

There are some self-igniting incense powders that are pre-prepared.  These include powders such as the Medicine Buddha Incense Powder, Dragon’s Blood and Come Hither Powder.  Violet and Company doesn’t carry these, but you can find them on the internet.  We at Violet and Company would recommend visiting Modern Dryad Incense to try some of their cones and powders.

This blog is by no means exhaustive and there is much more to be explained about the complex and ancient forms of incense.  Hopefully, this is just a start and you will be able to learn more in the future.

Some thoughts on Herbal Incense


 

What Herbal Incense is

photo courtesy of Rob Ostermaier/Daily Press in the Washington Post

Herbal incense, Spice, Herbal smoke-it all adds up to designer drugs sprayed on herbs that people inhale in order to alter consciousness.  It has been linked to deaths, seizures, hallucinations, vomiting, anxiety and accelerated heart rate.  It is the second most used illicit substance among high school seniors.

What Herbal Incense is not

Herbal incense is not sold by Violet and Company.  In my opinion, herbal incense should not even be called incense because it is not.

Incense is a sacred substance among many of the worlds religions including Hinduism, Neo-Paganism and Buddhism.  True incense has been used, prepared and traded for hundreds of years.  True incense is used by the intelligent, courageous and spiritual to forge ahead on roads less travelled by most.  Herbal incense is a cheap substitute used by those without knowledge in their innocent attempt to learn what meditation, reading, study and observation would teach.

We at Violet and Company urge anyone thinking about using Herbal incense, thinking it is a “natural substance” and thus is OK, to think deep and long about this.  Putting chemical substances of unknown origin into the body may be seriously polluting your vehicle and your consciousness.  Herbal incense has been linked to the deaths of young people and has caused seizures and other serious mental health issues.  Five minutes of altered consciousness is not worth death or permanent damage to the mind.

Every individual and every being on this earth is unique and important.  The things that each of us have to offer to this world are unique to ourselves and can’t be provided or offered by anyone else.  We are all essential.  It is important to keep the body healthy and the mind clear so that we can each fulfill our unique destiny, whatever that may be.

A good place to start in the pursuit of the exploration of your unique gifts is an online magazine such as Tathaastu magazine, which is a Sanskrit benediction for “it shall be so” or “so be it”.  Tathaastu is an affirmation as well as an expression of a desire.  Tathaastu magazine explores and introduces the ideas of health, wellness and the exploration of true and deep relationships.  It addresses the teaching of how to tap into your own personal power-these are all things that lead to peace, joy, happiness, prosperity, feeling confident and relaxed.  Basically all of the things that those who use Herbal Incense seek to find, but do not know how to get.

References:

Coffey, Lissa.  www.whatsyourdosha.com  Dosha Newsletter, 01/03/12.

Tathaastu Online Magazine.  http://www.tathaastumag.com/index.php

Washington Post.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/spice-makers-alter-recipes-to-sidestep-state-laws-banning-synthetic-marijuana/2011/11/30/gIQA6gpHNP_story.html

                                        

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