The six grades of Jinko (Aloeswood, Agarwood).

The Six grades of Jinko (Aloeswood, Agarwood)

In Japan Aloeswood is the most prized fragrant wood incense of all. The amazing quality of its incense is only just being discovered in the West.

In Japan, valuable kimonos were scented with smoke from burning Aloeswood. This is the traditional wood for the incense ceremony of Kodo, and in Japan it is purchased in six different qualities. The best wood, Kyara, is differentiated by colour and quality.

Aloeswood, along with santal and clove, is sacred to the Buddhist religion. The living and dead tree is attacked by a fungus, and over time, preferably centuries, nature provides an incense material worth more than its weight in gold.

Aloeswood is a psychoactive substance, and is used in oriental medicines for nervous disorders, colic and as a heart tonic.

The six grades of Jinko are as follows:-

Kyara (The Aristocrat)                                                                                     the-lady-maisumi-of-daimonji-ya-md
Connoisseurs regard this as top-grade material. It is divided according to quality, based on colour (green, black, purple and dark brown-grey).

Rakoku (The Samurai)the-actor-band-mitsugor-ii-md

Reminiscent of the warrior, the aroma of Rakoku is considered relatively pungent and bitter. This type originally hailed from Thailand.

Sasora (The Monk)

Of priestly demeanor, the aroma is considered delicate, cool and sour. Sasora may have originated from the western shores of India, around Goa.

 

Sumotara (The Servant disguised as a noble)

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The aroma has the makings of Kyara, but with the lack of subtlety in-depth. It is an impersonator, hence the name. Described as a sour smell, Sumotara has a somewhat distasteful demeanor. Sumotara originally came from the island of Sumatra in the east Indian archipelago.

Manaka (The fickle one of changing moods)

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Delicate and ever-changing, the tastes of sweet, sour bitter, hot and salty are not easily detectable, and if they are it is a fleeting impression. Manaka hailed from the strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaya.

 

Manaban ( The coarse peasant)

Sweet. unrefined and coarse, with a grittiness that distinguishes it from high quality material. Manaban came from the Malabar coast of southern India.

 

syukohkoku                 white cloud

 

Namaste

Mike & Nikki

Thank you to The library of Congress for the images

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Eight ways to use incense

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 1.Unwind.

Kick your shoes off , curl up on the sofa and have a mug of tea with some of your favorite incense and have a moment of relaxation to your self .

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  1. Connect with our senses.

 Attune to your incense by not only be aware of the scent but notice what you feel when you sense it. Notice what sensations there are in the body and what thoughts come through in the mind, Try not to label the experience by observing what is happening and not by judging the experience.

  1. To enhance spiritual practice.

Incense has a long tradition with spiritual practices. Whether that be a personal spiritual journey and practice or part of a religious practice and faith, incense has many uses to enhance. For some it is a way of developing greater mindfulness for others it is part of the ritual to their faith, there are so many different ways incense is used. It’s been said by some incense connects the heavens with the earth. Just as the concept of spirituality can be a shared experience it also is personal one, which mirrors the experience of use of incense it can be shared at the same time as being a purely personal one.Candle Flame

 

  1. To cleanse the home.

Feel your home has got a bit stagnant and the energy levels are low? Give your home  a good clean and tidy, making sure you have got rid of things you no longer want or need. Choose a sandalwood, sage or agarwood based incense or one of your favorite incense to bless each room and intend the home be a place health ,harmony, love and balance.  

  1. Welcome guest into your home.

Have fun , choose an incense which you feel matches your guests burn it in the entrance of your home to welcome them in. If like ask them if the incense scent is one they would choose, you may be surprised with the results. 

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  1. To create a mood. 

Whether you want to create a sensual seductive mood or a uplifting and invigorating feel, incense will  help you to influence the mood through the beautiful fragrance it omits. 

 

  1. Heighten and colour awareness.

Just as colour brings vibrancy to the world so does our sense of smell. The more attuned you become to incense you will also become more attuned to the world of scent. The more focus you pay to the incense you burn (as long as it is a good quality incense) the more sensitive it appears your sense of smell becomes. The world becomes a more colourful place when we become attuned to our sense of smell.

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8. Create your own sanctuary.

Make yourself a warm bubble bath, light some candles, treat yourself to your favourite incense and have a beautiful body oil to massage into skin after your bath. Give yourself the pampering you deserve and be transported to your own sanctuary of bliss.

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The journey of incense Shoyeido-Nijo (Avenue of the Villa Nijo)

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First Steps

I started my journey with Nijo very much at a head level but with plenty of curiosity. I was wondering what would be the difference between coils and stick incense and thinking was the incense worth the price. Nijo gives you ten coils of incense and comes with a porcelain incense holder for the price of £26.75 ,which I would consider this the top of my budget for what I would pay for incense. Each coil burns between 2 and 2 1/2hrs. First steps   I lit Nijo and sat back and waited to see what I would sense. At first there were gentle waves of flora notes fill the air, it was pleasing like smelling the aroma of freshly cut flowers in the space. At this point I wanted more (it’s worth noting I can be impatient at times). I need not worry as later the incense  gave me so much more than I was expecting. Image

The middle

As time passed the intensity of the fragrance grew and it reveled definite notes of sandalwood along with a greater concentration of the flora notes. I felt as though the incense was taking me to a fragrant temple made up of exotic woods and flowers which filled me full of delight and joy as each moment  different elements of essence showed itself. During the experience I noticed I stopped trying to identify each ingredient and just sat back to connect with the experience.

Returning home

Once the incense had been burnt the room was left with traces of the aroma from the incense which was still to be felt the next morning. I now realize what a beautiful and fascinating incense this is for me. I understood that Nijo is a special incense, to be lit only when there is time to fully enjoy it or for special occasions and not a daily incense. I am left looking forward to my next adventure with Nijo and I will choose a time when I can fully appreciate it. Dare I say it I think this incense is worth every penny and I now fully appreciate the mastery of ingredients that Shoyeido have shown in producing such a beautiful incense.

Namaste Nikki Image