|image: Cristina Jaleru - lifeofvenus.com|
A few months ago, I had the tremendous good fortune to witness a Japanese incense ceremony conducted by Souhitsu Isshikenn Hachiya, Junior Master at Japan's Shino School of Kodo. My account of the event has now been published on Basenotes, so please click here to read it. Here's an extract, to whet your appetite:
Hachiya had to undergo more than a decade of training before he was qualified to carry out the intricate kodo ceremony. In that time, he had to learn not how to smell the incense, but how to listen to it. "This derives from the Buddhist notion of listening to scent," he said. "When Buddha used to teach, he used to do it with scent rather than with words. His students would learn directly from fragrance as opposed to words. For myself, I take the fragrance and feel with my nose, but it doesn't end there. You listen with your ears and your heart. You use every single sense to have a dialogue with the bark. I don't understand it fully, but this is the closest explanation I can give. This is something that is revealed to you in small portions at a time."