The Altar

Fragrant incense is an offering representing the truth of the Middle Way of Buddhism.

The Great Teacher Tien T’ai wrote, “No color, nor fragrance is not of the Middle Way.”    
Thus burning incense, spreading fragrance throughout the room, signifies the fragrance of the law spreading throughout the universe.

The essential property of the Buddha’s life or the property of the Law and the potential of our innate Buddha nature is represented in the burning of incense.  The incense burner is placed in the center of the altar, and the incense is burned from left to right.  Incense serves to create a fragrant atmosphere and is burned in front of the Gohonzon during morning and evening gongyo.  One to three sticks of incense are burned in a flat position to help engender a feeling of serenity before the Gohonzon. In cases where there are concerns over allergies or personal preferences incense is not used.