Makko / Incense Trail Style Burning

This unique style of incense burning revisits ancient Asian methods of enjoying incense. From esoteric Buddhism we are given this style of burning, which dates back thousands of years.

We can use this method of burning incense in what the Japanese call, "Soradaki" or "empty burning", which means burning fragrances for pleasure or for entertaining guests, etc. Another method, and the birthplace of this style, is the Buddhist "Sonae Koh" burning, or "offering incenses", which is burning incense in spiritual practice.

The incense trail method of burning incense was used in the ancient "Incense Seals" and used as the principle means of measuring time in ancient Asia.

Here are the steps to prepare and begin burning incense in this ancient style.

  1. An incense bowl is filled with white rice ash, which is compacted by tapping lightly on the bottom of the bowl
  2. An indentation is made in the ash with a "U" shaped koh press. If a koh press is not available you can use any small object that will leave a straight line or "U" shaped impression in the ash. Press into ash to make an indentation roughly about 1/2 inch deep x 1/2 inch wide.
  3. Makko powder is used to fill the entire indentation and again the koh press or its substitute is used to lightly compact the makko.
  4. Light one end of a small piece of an incense stick, about 3/4" long, and stick into one end of the line of compacted makko and let burn
  5. Once the makko is burning you can sprinkle your incense mixture or ingredient directly on top of the burning makko
  6. As the makko trail burns, place additional incense on the portion of makko that is burning.

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