New Incense from Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai

One of the things I notice most when I visit Buddhist temples in China is the amount of commerce going on. For a start you have to pay to get into most temples. Once inside there are any number of shops selling Buddhist artefacts and religious objects at vastly over-inflated prices. At Jade Buddha Temple there were signs in place inside the shops saying "All Items Blessed by Monks - No Haggling." Not surprisingly, business seemed to be less than bustling. An elderly American chap browsing next to me commented to his wife, "Buddha doesn't come cheap!"
Nonetheless, the Jade Buddha Temple is a fascinating complex in Shanghai, one well worth visiting. Indeed, you should give it a whole afternoon, in order to best absorb its energy and observe the constant activity. Prayers are chanted at 4pm, and it is always great to catch them.

I spent most of a day there, eating at the temple's fantastic vegetarian restaurant. I noticed that the faithful were purchasing beautifully-scented incense. The incense sticks were brightly coloured, and quite unlike anything I'd seen at other temples.

So, naturally I had to go and buy a box.
It came in pink, red and green varieties, each one subtly different according to my delicate senses. The grumpy woman behind the counter scolded me for taking so long over my purchase. "They're all the same," she grumbled. "Just take a box."
So I selected my box and have brought it back with me to Sydney.

I am particular about incense and where and when I use each type (eccentric, I know). And this box is for downstairs meditations in the evening, along with the expensive Japanese incense.


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