Many people have no doubt about giving incense sticks when putting their hands on graves and altars. This is because giving incense sticks to graves and altars is "common in everyday life."
Incense sticks are sold not only at funeral stores but also at supermarkets and convenience stores. The incense sticks that are sold at convenience stores give the impression that they are "ordinary daily necessities." Wake up in the morning, light an incense stick and put your hands on the altar. Some of you may have grown up seeing such a scene at your parents'house or grandparents' house. There is "incense stick" in our daily life.
However, there are few people who think about the meaning of such incense sticks in their daily lives. How many people can talk about incense sticks as needed? Do you know why incense sticks are given to Buddhist altars and graves? Do you have any doubts?
In the first place, why did you come to use incense sticks when you put your hands on the Buddhist altar, when you were in a memorial service, or when you visited a grave? Speaking of visiting a grave, I have the knowledge and impression that incense sticks and visiting a grave are one set, as many people ask, "Did you prepare incense sticks?" First of all, let's deepen your knowledge of incense sticks with three points as to what the meaning of incense sticks has come to be used.
Humans cannot eat rice after death. I can't eat tempura or steak, which I loved, when I die. So what you eat instead is ... the scent. There is a story of eating a good smell after death.
A deceased person cannot eat the same food as a living human being. And you can't wear clothes in the same way. That is why there is an anecdote that incense sticks that smell good as food for the deceased are offered, and flowers are offered to be the clothes of the deceased. The way of thinking may differ depending on the region and sect, but it is also good to think of the deceased and offer the deceased's favorite scent and imagine "Will you please?"
Even if you don't have religious knowledge of incense sticks, it would be good to buy the scent that the deceased liked at the sales floor with compassion. The incense sticks that scent suddenly will bring back happy memories with the deceased.
Salt is often used for cleansing. I also want to know that incense sticks are also used for purification.
The scent and smoke of incense sticks are said to have the same effect of purifying the living as salt. That is why the incense sticks are lit first when visiting a grave, a memorial service, or when holding hands on a Buddhist altar. First, light the incense sticks to cleanse your mind and body, then start the memorial service and join hands.
The shop does not sell incense sticks for cleaning. Regardless of the scent or price, incense sticks used for visiting graves and memorial services are believed to have a "cleansing" effect.
The third thing you should know about incense sticks is the knowledge of incense sticks that "incense sticks are a dialogue with the Buddha." Isn't it the knowledge of incense sticks that makes you wonder, "Why do you have a dialogue?" If you are not conscious of it.
Cleanse yourself by giving incense sticks. And the scent and smoke of incense sticks become food for the deceased. Becoming food also means that the scent and smoke of incense sticks have reached the deceased. When you put your feelings on the scent and smoke, those feelings reach the Buddha.
The smoke of incense sticks looks like a thread rising into the sky. Don't you feel like you're on a tin can phone with the deceased?
The manners of incense sticks differ depending on the denomination. When you visit a grave or put your hands on a Buddhist altar, you probably don't care much about the sect. There is no such thing as "If you don't give incense sticks on this street, it's a violation of etiquette, so it's NG."
As I mentioned in the sense of giving incense sticks, "feelings" are greatly related to incense sticks. Therefore, the most important thing is not to absolutely follow the manners of each sect, but above all, to give your feelings. Why don't you deepen your knowledge of incense sticks while valuing your feelings and be aware of the differences in how to raise incense sticks depending on the sect.
At Jodo Shinshu, one incense stick is folded into several pieces and laid down for serving. There are no particular rules regarding how to offer the Tendai sect or Rinzai sect. In the Jodo sect, one to three can be laid down or stood up. In Nichiren sect, there are also one to three, but this one can be served upright. In the Shingon sect, there are three, and in the Soto sect, there is one.
Knowledge of incense sticks for each sect can be easily remembered by focusing on "number" and "whether to stand or lie down".
Another thing to remember as incense stick knowledge is how to erase incense sticks. It is a violation of etiquette to blow out incense sticks. You also want to avoid erasing it by flipping it over with your hands. So how do you erase it? Is there any way?
It's easy to erase. Hold the incense stick vertically (the one with the fire on top) and lower it straight down. If all goes well, the fire will go out cleanly.
If you're having trouble getting it right, you can't help but fold it in the end. It is important not to get burned or to catch fire. However, there is a proper way to erase incense sticks, so it might be a good idea to practice it little by little in your daily life.
I explained the knowledge of incense sticks. In everyday life, "giving incense sticks" to graves and altars is a matter of course. Were you able to deepen your knowledge about incense sticks that are so familiar to you that you wouldn't be wondering?
It's interesting to look into the things that are commonplace in everyday life. Recently, incense sticks for Buddhist altars and graves have appeared in various odors and colors. Now that you have deepened your knowledge of incense sticks, why not take this opportunity to take a look at the sales floor as a review of your incense stick knowledge. You will deepen your interest and knowledge about incense sticks.