Why Taoists need and must burn Joss Sticks and Joss Papers? AND WHY SHOULD YOU?

Many Chinese (especially in Singapore) who are non-taoists and also folks of other races, very often complain about the smoke emitted from the Joss Sticks and Joss Papers are choking / killing them.

This article will explains why Folk Taoists need and must burn Joss Sticks and Joss Papers and why and how people can also join in to light up Joss Sticks and Burn Joss Papers together.

Records of lighting up incense in Taoist Texts

In one of the 10 Power Incantations of Taoism (道教十大神咒), there is one incantation which is the 'Incense Prayer Incantation' (祝香咒).

祝香咒 - “道由心学,心假香传。香焚玉炉,心存帝前。真灵下盼,仙旆临轩。令臣关告 / 弟子关告,径达九天。”

Translated into English:

Incense Prayer Incantation - "The Tao is studied from the heart. The heart is transmitted through the incense. Incense burns in the Jade Furnace. My heart is before Jade Emperor . The true spirit gazes down. A procession of immortals comes to the sacred place. Allowing the disciple to express his/her prayers. The Scripture reaches the nine heavens."

More Information on: 10 Power Incantations of Taoism (道教十大神咒)

To the Taoists, Incense is the communication tool for humans to convey their wishes and messages to the deities. The smoke rises and carries the wishes up to the heavens.  Offering of incense to the deities is to show our sincerity and utmost respect. Likewise, the deities will acknowledge our respect by giving us blessings.

Whether You like it or not, "Electronic Joss Sticks" CANNOT replace genuine Joss Sticks and "Electronic Joss Paper Apps" CANNOT replace genuine Joss Papers, when praying to deities / gods and spirits.

History Of burning incense by the Taoists in ancient China

Burning incense is a custom passed down from ancient worshiping rituals. When the ancient Chinese pay respect to the Gods / Spirits and ancestors, they usually burned their sacrifices or simply certain plants to make heavy smoke, which they could communicate with spirits through the smoke.

Having evolved gradually and been popularized later, such a practice has become a way of showing respect for spirits by burning incense.

The incense of later ages was improved, and some fine incense produced specially for venerating spirits appeared. The most common types of incense used right now are incense sticks (joss sticks) and winded incense.

There are proper formalized procedures of offering of Incense Sticks (Joss Sticks) by the Taoist Priests, compare to the Lay people of Chinese Folk Practice.

Burning of Joss Sticks and Joss Papers in Chinese Folk Practice

During Taoist Spirit Medium Ritual, lighting up Joss Sticks and burning of Joss papers is a must. When the Joss sticks are lighted up, it is only then the channel of communication with the deities is open up, in order for the deities to be notified and do the neccessary preparation to possess the spirit mediums.

Joss papers are used in several ways, during Spirit Medium Activities. During consultation, the deity (while in trance of spirit medium), he / she might also tell You to do prayer offering by burning Joss Papers to certain deities or spirits.

In Folk Taoism (Chinese Folk Religion), Yes - the deities and spirits are able to receive the Joss Papers that You burn to them, orelse the deities (while in trance of spirit medium) won't instruct You to burn Joss Papers to certain deities or ghosts. Even though "Hell Bank Notes" are newly created offering materials by the modern enterprising folks, the classic "Gold Papers" and "Silver Papers" are real money for the deities and ghosts respectively.

More Information on: Taoist Spirit Mediums

How folks from other faiths can learn from the Chinese Folks of Chinese Folk Religion

The beauty of Chinese Folks (of Chinese Folk Religion), is that, they don't look down on other religions. They are always ready to bring in the deities of other faiths to pray together with their Chinese Deities, WITH JOSS STICKS & JOSS PAPERS.

When Chinese Folks (of Chinese Folk Religion) are praying to Na Tuk Kong, they will burn Kemenyan. When Chinese Spirit Mediums were to 'jump' (spirit possession) Na Tuk Kong, they will burn Kemenyan and play Kompangs beats with sticks.

More information on Na Tuk Kong >> Datuk Gong - Malay Deity of the Chinese

When Chinese Folks (of Chinese Folk Religion) are praying to Hindu Deities at Hindu Temples, they will light up Joss Sticks and pray, then generously put money at the donation boxs at the Hindu Temples.

When Chinese folks were to pray to Jesus, Mother Mary and the Cross, they will light up incense sticks and pray and then burn Joss Papers. This is very popular practice in the Chinese Temples at Philipphines.

Check Out >> Jesus Christ in Chinese Temple

Pray Fast - Donate Faster

When a folk Taoist is going to pray at a Chinese temple, he/she will buy joss sticks / joss papers from the counter and then proceed to light up incense sticks, do his prayer, after that, move on to burn the joss papers. The whole praying time takes only 10 to 15 minutes.

Once the whole praying process (light up joss sticks  and burn joss papers) is completed,  he / she will proceed to the donation box and donate some money at the donation box, often time, will donate $2, $5, $10 or some folks even donate $50 or more per visit (to the temple).

The continuous non-stop donations every seconds by few hundreds to few thousands worshippers per day at a popular temple, can add up from few thousand dollars to few hundred thousand dollars. The  money goes to maintain the temple, pay the space / ground rental fee to the government, pay the workers in the temple, and have a lot more left over to donate out to the welfare organisations.

Extra Info: Base on personal research and observation, surprisingly, the Chinese Folks (of the Folk Taoist Path) are considered the most generous people, when compared to other folks of other faiths. Taoist Temples / Chinese Buddhist Temples have been donating huge amount of money to help other religious places of worship as well.

During Taoist Magic / Sorcery

When a Taoist Master / Sorcerer is to start his ritual / or to create talisman, the 1st step is always to light up joss sticks / incense. Lighting up of joss sticks  at the altar is to open up a communication channel to inform the deities / spirits that the ritual has  begun and please come forward.  Later on, joss papers are burned as offering to the deities or spirits to thank them for their help.

When I (Taoist Sorcery Master / Kumantong 4D Master) wants to do ritual to seek 4D / TOTO Lottery numbers from the Kumantongs or other types of ghosts, the very 1st step is to light up incense stick / aroma cone.

So what the folks of other religious faiths can learn?

Pray fast and Donate Faster >> Light up joss sticks and pray to the Gods / Deities of Your own faith, then proceed to burn joss papers as offering to Your gods / deities/ spirits , put some money in donation box and quickly move on.

This way, the money management team of the other religious places of worship  will also secretly be very happy to have fast in flow of money. (Some other religious places of worship have hard time receiving money donation from their own worshippers).

When at home..

You can use joss sticks to pray to Your own God / Deities of Your own faith, then proceed to burn the joss papers outside Your house at the open space.

While You are complaining about the smoke from the burning of Joss Sticks and Joss Papers, the westerners in western countries are picking up the practice of burning of Joss Sticks and Joss Papers from the Chinese and use it on their own prayers (Wicca, Pagan, Western Folk Magic etc).

Some westerners who follow the Taoist Tradition, burn small amount of Joss papers, right in front of their altar at home.

Living in a community where majority are Chinese Folk Taoists

There is a Chinese Saying: 入乡随俗 - When you enter a village, follow the local customs ; do as the natives do (When in Rome, do as the Romans do). You can join the Chinese Neighbours (of Folk Taoist Tradition) and use Joss Sticks & Burn Joss Papers to pray together.

You can use Joss Sticks & Joss Papers to pray to Your own gods / deities of Your own faith. Just like how the westerners  in western countries, are now using Chinese Style of praying with Joss Sticks and burning Joss Papers to their own deities / gods / spirits of their own faiths (Wicca, Pagan, Western Folk Magic  etc).

Someday You might need to burn Joss Sticks & Joss Papers

When times are good, the youngsters, Chinese folks of non-taoist faith and also people of other races, will spend time complaining about the smoke coming from Joss Sticks & Joss Papers.

Just imagine , someday certain issues in Your life arise, be it health issue (cancer), money issue (huge debts) or spiritual issue (attack by black magic) , that no human-beings can help and also none of  Your own spiritual masters / priest / pastor / father etc of Your own faith can help, reaching to the point of commiting suicide... then, You realised there is still one last hope, which is to seek help from a Chinese Deity at a Chinese Temple.

While in trance of a spirit medium, the deity might instruct You to burn joss sticks and joss papers during the prayer /ritual process.  What if, all this while, You have been opposing the practice of burning of Joss Sticks and Joss Papers and now You need and must burn them by yourself? So keep an open mind and keep an opening for Yourself.

Pray like the Chinese (with Joss Sticks & Joss Papers) and Strike 4D

Lastly, base on personal research, people who always complain about smoke and smell of Joss Sticks & Joss Papers are those folks who never buy 4D and never get to Strike 4D, because their religion / faith don't allow them to buy 4D and their  god / deities won't be able to bless them with Lottery Luck.

Therefore, if You want to Strike 4D & Toto, learn to pray like the Chinese, with Joss Sticks and Joss Papers to the Chinese deities.

More information on: Chinese Gods Of Wealth

Got Pray, Got Luck - No Pray, Sure Die.

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Important Note: There is consultation fee and ritual service charge when You seek help. The consultation fee & service charge are quite expensive and not anybody can afford it, or interested to pay for it. Kindly ask how much is the consultation service and ritual service fee when You seek help.

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