Agarwood and Buddhism

In China, agarwood has a close relationship with religion. In Buddhism, agarwood has a high status, and Buddhism uses it to worship Buddha. Agarwood is one of the main spices for “Buddha Bathing”. Prayer beads and Buddha statues carved with agarwood are precious Buddhist utensils.

After thousands of years of decay and rebirth, agarwood is a spiritual thing of heaven and earth. Its fragrance is elegant and unpretentious, and it is regarded as a noble sacred product for worshiping Buddha. The application of agarwood has a history of at least 3,000 years. In the Western Han Dynasty, agarwood was introduced into China along with Buddhism. There are records of using agarwood to make Buddhist incense in many Buddhist scriptures, such as “Agama Sutra”, “Avatamsaka Sutra”, “Shurangama Sutra” and “Six Patriarch Altar Sutra”.

In the “Surangama Sutra on the Head of the Great Buddha”, the Buddha told Ananda:  “If people in the last days wish to set up a Taoist temple, they should build sixteen lotus flowers, sixteen incense burners, lay flowers between them, solemn incense burners, and burn agarwood purely.” Because agarwood is the head of the twelve incense kings in Buddhism, the Buddha used the aroma of agarwood and sandalwood as a metaphor for the excellence of precepts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *