Two students went for a pleasant mountain walk. Even though they started it for pleasure, it was a hard climb. So, they took a rest at a temple.
"I'm like breathing this air. Whenever I visit temples, I love the scent of this perfumed air."
"It smells like incense. I heard that many temples burn it, but I don't know the why."
Have you ever smelled incense at temples and wondered why it is burned? If you are a Donggukian, you know what I mean. This is because students have to take one or two lectures in the campus temple before graduation. Many students say, "They don't know the reason for burning incense."
An Jung-chul, a chief of religious doctrine at Dongguk University, explained the reason.
"The essential reason is that it makes a calm atmosphere. Our temples is a place of study, meditation and prayer. So it should be a calm place. Also, it kills bad smells. By burning incense, we're able to make a quiet and fragrant atmosphere. We kill two birds with one stone."
There are other reasons to burn incense. For example, we can be aware of two of the Buddha's teachings. One is self-sacrificing spirit. The incense burns itself to make a perfume scent. Nowadays, many people don't consider others; They only care about money. The Buddha said, "be a fragrant man." Literally, "fragrant" means not perfume but a man of character. The person who spends much money to buy a car or clothes is not a fragrant man. Spending much money and time for others makes a true fragrant man.
And have you ever heard the maxim, "The paper wrapped around incense sheds a sweet smell; But the rope wrapped around fish stinks?" The second reason to burn incense derives from the above maxim. Rather than letting your character flaws be revealed, you should try to connect them. The flaws are related with one's past lifestyle, in other words, they are caused by what is inside of you. To connect the flaws, you should try to have goodness inside of you. But nowadays many people just decorate their appearance. In spite of their small salaries, some people pay lots of money for luxury goods, so-called Myoungpum ostentation. The Buddha wants them not to forget the importance of their inside. Incense leads us to a self-sacrificing spirit and to the true fragrance inside of us.
Seo Yong-geun firstname.lastname@example.org
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