2020/10/06 13:24:28

About the types of incense and proper manners

New graduates are not the only ones who worry about funeral etiquette.

Depending on the region, there are considerable differences in funeral methods, funeral events, clothing and beads.

As an example, the beads of red and pink bunches are considered taboo in some areas, but there is a rule regarding beads that is not particular about color in some areas. It is also famous that the amount of money used as a guideline for incense varies from region to region. In addition, there are rules and events unique to the region, and many people seem to have the impression that funerals are "difficult." Even if you know about funerals in your area, it seems that you are often confused because the funeral is different when you are called to a funeral in the distance.

One of the factors that makes such funerals difficult is the "Buddhist sect." There are many denominations in Japan, and the manners of funerals change depending on the area and where the temple is a dan family. If you don't know not only local customs but also this sect, it will be a violation of etiquette, so some people may rush to investigate just before attending the funeral.

This time, we will focus on "burning incense" among the funeral etiquette that differs for each sect. People who hold funerals also have trouble with manners, but those who attend also have trouble. Let's easily control only the manners of burning incense and the number of times for each denomination.


What are the manners and methods of burning incense? Basic flow

First, let's check how to incense.

There is a number of incense for each denomination. However, most denominations have the same method, so once you have learned the method of burning incense, you can only remember the number of times for each denomination.

Certainly, those who have specialized knowledge such as monks may say that "there are considerable differences depending on the ritual and denomination." However, if the general public attends a funeral, it is not necessary to deeply study Buddhist expertise and deeply understand the subtle differences and religious implications of many Buddhist rituals. Let's keep "basic manners of burning incense" and "number of burning incense for each denomination" as a basis.

The procedure for burning incense is simple. The order of burning incense is determined by the depth of the relationship with the deceased. Generally, it starts with a person who has a close relationship with the deceased (mourner), and after the mourner, the bereaved family and relatives who are closely related to each other burn incense. At funerals, the seating order is often decided in consideration of the relationship with the deceased, so the order of burning incense often comes around for each seating order. Even if you reach the stage of incense, you will not suddenly stand up and wait quietly until the seating order finishes the incense.

When it's your turn to incense, stand quietly and stand in front of the incense stand to thank the deceased and then incense. If you don't need to stand up, the incense burner will come from the person in the previous order, so you will receive it and burn it.

For incense, first pick up the incense with the thumb, index finger, and middle finger of your right hand and press it against your forehead. After that, the incense is fluttering to the fire. If you put all the incense on the fire, you will be thankful for the gassho and the bereaved family. Give the place to the next attendee.

Basically, this is the procedure for burning incense common to all denominations. The flow of incense is roughly the same as this, but the number of times differs depending on the denomination. The number of times refers to the number of times "how many times to put the pinched incense on the fire" and "how many times to get it on the forehead". This number varies from sect to sect, and is generally 1 to 3 times depending on the sect.


Number of incense burns that varies by denomination

Each sect has a different "number of times to get on the forehead" and "how many times to put the pinched incense on the fire (number of incense burns)", but this means that the incense and numbers have different meanings depending on each sect. Because I have it. For denominations that think that the number "1" has a big meaning, incense is burned only once. In denominations that emphasize the number "three", incense may be done three times. Let's take a look at the incense of the main denominations.

Shingon Buddhism: Burning incense, 3 times for both
Soto Sect Burning incense twice, getting on the forehead once (may not be on the forehead)
Jodo-shu: 1 to 3 times of incense, and there is no particular limit on the number of times you can get it on your forehead (according to the number of incense)
Tendai sect There is no particular number of times. 1 to 3 times for both incense and forehead
Nichiren sect once or three times (doesn't hit the forehead)
Rinzai sect: Burning incense once (doesn't hit the forehead)


The number of times introduced is just the basic number of times for each sect, and the number of incense burns may vary depending on local customs and the way of thinking of the priest.

Also, in recent years, incense burning may be performed only once regardless of denomination. This is because if there are many people attending the funeral, it will take a considerable amount of time to burn the incense three times. Another reason is that you may not know the denomination of the house where the funeral will be held in advance, or you may not be a member of a particular temple.

If you are uncertain about the manners of burning incense, it is a good idea to look at the burning incense of the mourners and relatives. If the people around you do it once, it's a good idea to do it once according to the people around you, even if the sect sets a different number of times.



Among the funeral etiquette, I talked about the incense etiquette required for the funeral.

Each sect has subtle differences in the funeral itself, differences in tools, and differences in etiquette. In addition to this, the funerals in Japan are mainly Buddhist, but they are quite diverse.

Even if you have perfected the funeral etiquette in your area, it is not uncommon for you to be confused because the manners are so different when you attend the funeral of the neighboring municipality. The manners of burning incense are the same, and it is not uncommon for the manners of your area to differ from the manners of the neighboring municipality.

The point of etiquette of incense is that "the number of times is different for each denomination". If you have any questions about etiquette, it's a good idea to check with a funeral shop or acquaintance in the area where the funeral is held. Gently checking the etiquette of other attendees at the funeral is also an effective way to avoid violating etiquette.

However, what is important at funerals is not the perfect manners, but the feelings towards the deceased and the bereaved family. Even if you write down the number of incense burns, it is most important to make the funeral so that the bereaved family and attendees feel that it was a wonderful funeral with sincerity.