Original postdate 02/01/2012 @ 14:32
Decorations on the roof of the temple.
Today we visited two temples in the city of Saigon. And we found out about these weird spiral incense. You bought it from the mini-shop together with a handwritten prayer of your choice (the pink ones) and then the lady who worked there hung them up. Or you could be boring and buy those straight regular ones. Thought the spiral ones looked cooler though.
The burning of incense acts as a sacrificial offering to a higher power or even a deity, if you will. It is a method of purifying the surroundings. If you burn one – you bring buddhas, bodhissatvas, gods, demons and “mini”-demons to you. At first, you wave it back and forth in and around yourself or whatever you’re trying to improve/guard and then you place it in a little vase with sand in it… unless you’re using friggin’ spiral incense.
A very loud roman woman bought one.
That smell is like death to me. Not “oh my gosh I’m going to die”-death. I associate the smell of incense with death because every time someone dies in our Mongolian family – you bring together E-VERY-ONE no matter how busy you are or how close (or not so) you are to the deceased. You’re going to be there. And so there’s this whole ritual.
1. The family sits in a circle along with a monk (or multiple monks).
2. The monk spend what feels like an eternity chanting from old (really old) Tibetan scriptures.
3. There’s always incense.
4. And every house of every family member has to cover up their windows for some – to me – unexplained reason. This goes on for a month or more.
5. The dead person has a specific name, never to ever be referred to by his “earth-name” again when brought up in conversation.
The boring straight ones.
The pink prayer slips!
Straights and spirals.