18 Jun
Posted in: Practice
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Flower, Incense, Candle

During the Vesak Day celebration at MABA last month, we were each given a bundle to carry as we walked around the grounds in a silent procession. The bundles each contained a couple of flowers, a few sticks of incense, and a fresh beeswax candle…all tied in a little “bouquet.” It seemed at the time that there must be some significance to that particular set of items, but beyond wondering about it for minute or two, I didn’t give it much thought.

But then yesterday I ran across this blog post by Ajahn Sucitto, where he mentions that Vesak (or Wesak) Day “will normally center on a circumambulation of a shrine carrying flowers, incense and candles: these represent morality (sila), meditation (samadhi) and wisdom (panna), the tree limbs of the Buddhist Path.”

So now I know.

Flowers stand for the beautiful qualities of virtue (morality): Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood.
Incense stands for the calming and collecting factors of meditation: Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
And the Candle stands for the illuminating power of wisdom: Right Understanding and Right Intention.

It’s The Eightfold Path!

Right there in one sweet little bundle.

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