< Back to orientalsacredwoody Recipes

Mandala Tibetan

"Sometimes a glance, a few casual words, fragments of a melody floating through the quiet air of a summer evening, a book that accidentally comes into our hands, a poem or a memory laden fragrance, may bring about the impulse which changes and determines our whole life."--from The Way of the White Clouds, by Lama Anagarika Govinda

Almost every ancient culture evolved Boddhisatvahighly sophisticated aromatic arts and crafts which were incorporated into the secular and religious lives of the people coming under the sphere of its influence. At the core of these disciplines one often encounters the use of incense which was highly esteemed in India, China, Egypt, India, the Middle East, Japan, etc. Each evolved its own special incense traditions based on the aromatic materials available to the artisans involved in compounding the materials. Not only did they seek to compound incenses that would create a contemplative atmosphere in which they were burned but also for the numerous therapeutic effects arising from the aroma ladened smoke.

In all the countries of the ancient world where Buddhism flourished, the incense tradition also became deep rooted. Tibet, in its remote Himalayan location received the teaching of Buddha sometime in the 700's AD and with came its own unique incense traditions which continue to this day. The incense compounded by its incense masters, has its own special sublime qualities arising from the use of powdered aromatic spices, herbs, precious woods, earthy roots, musk, ambergris etc. Although Tibet was difficult to access it did not stop the flow of international trade into that remote Buddhist kingdom and many special aromatics like saffron, agarwood, sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh etc. found their way into the hands of her gifted incense makers who also drew upon the indigenous aromatics of cedar, costus roots, angelica root, rhododendron leaf, juniper, spikenard etc. that grew in the high Himalayan mountains. The hallmark of their works were incenses that were soft, delicate, and sublime in nature that clearly reflected the pristine world in which they lived, surrounded by the magnificent snowcapped Himalayan range, immaculate rivers and lakes, deep somber forests.

The incense they created was of two main types. One was made by compounding a paste and then rolled into various thicknesses and lengths (without a bamboo center as is in Indian incense). The second was a simple mixture of various dry ingredients to be burned in a brazier.

I have not sought to copy any specific incense recipe in compounding what I call the Mandala Tibetan Perfume. Rather I have relied upon many of the ingredients used by the Incense Masters of that ancient land to create a liquid essence which captures some of the spirit of their sublime aromatic creations. This smokeless incense is best enjoyed in a low heat diffuser like the AromaStone. If one will place a few drops in the AromaStone the essence will slowly begin to release its delightful scent into the surrounding atmosphere and if one sits quietly in its vicinity then one can enjoy its delightful aromatic aura for many hours.

read more in the Mandala Tibetan newsletter