27 Mar Incense Offering
We have recently come from a village where each family makes incense. I remember the dark room with a fire that scents each fist of incense sticks with lingering wood smoke. Through a doorway on the street we walk into a temple. Here is a coil of incense burning on an altar. It burns before a statue, the image of a teacher or temple guardian. Temples lie behind the street facades. A parallel world exists behind the financial exchanges of cafés and shops. These red and gold shrine rooms offer a different kind of exchange. A stick of incense, piece of fruit, bar of chocolate or can of beer is offered. These gifts are to give thanks, and the giver asks in return for a blessing. This particular statue, may be an unknown teacher to me, but a little gratitude feels necessary. Today, we are all alive and well. We have much to be thankful for. It feels important to be in right relationship with ‘the unseen’. I bow my head, light incense, give thanks, say a prayer and ask for my own blessing. We may be away from home, but hope that our ancestors and guides are with us on our journey. I trust they are keeping a protective eye on us.