Dear Friends, in celebration of our teacher’s return to Tu Hieu Temple, Vietnam, where he practiced as a novice monk, we would like to offer you a series of stories Thay has told of his time there. This is the fifth in that series.
Does the Buddha need incense?
by Thich Nhat Hanh
My teacher taught me how to light a stick of incense. In my temple, when I was a novice, we would offer incense to the Buddha several times a day and I often used to wonder: “Does the Buddha really need incense?”
I don’t know if the Buddha needs incense, but we certainly do.
What my teacher taught me was to invest the energy of mindfulness, concentration, and insight into lighting the incense. When your body and mind are one in the present moment, that is the energy of mindfulness. And when you are completely attentive to what you are doing, that is the energy of concentration. With the energy of mindfulness and concentration, communication between you and your ancestors becomes possible in every cell of your body.
Memories from the Root Temple: