The Ten Virtues of Koh

by Nippon Kodo

Passed down to the present day, the “Ten Virtues of Koh” is a Chinese verse that was transcribed by a Zen master named Ikkyu Sojun in the fifteenth century in Japan. The “Ten Virtues of Koh” captures the benefits and the special qualities of incense by using four kanji characters for each benefit.


01. 感格鬼神 (Kankaku kijin)- It brings communication with the transcendent (making the senses sharpened).
Incense helps your senses become sharpened and focused, similar to the sharp senses of the traditional Japanese ogre and ‘god.’ Effective fragrances are sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh, patchouli, cinnamon, peppermint, lemongrass, ginger, jasmine, amber, and ylang-ylang.

02. 清浄心身 (Shoujo shinjin)- It purifies both mind and body.
Incense helps unwind your complex mind and fatigue body by using refreshing fragrances. Effective fragrances are frankincense, sandalwood, patchouli, white sage, cedarwood, palo santo, and rosemary.

03. 能払汚穢 (Noujo oe)- It removes impurity.
Incense helps clear out negative energy of your surrounds. Effective fragrances are patchouli, palo santo, frankincense, white sage, myrrh, pine, and hinoki.

04. 能覚睡眠 (Noukaku suimin)- It brings alertness.
Incense helps with waking up and removing sleepiness. Effective fragrances are aloeswood, kyara (premium aloeswood), bergamot, peppermint, jasmine, green tea, ginger, and cinnamon.

05. 静中成友 (Seichu joyu)- It is a companion in solitude.
When you are alone, incense helps comfort loneliness and heal your mind. Effective fragrances are cedarwood, sandalwood, jasmine, lemon, musk, and myrrh.

06. 塵裏愉閑 (Jinri yukan)- In the midst of busy affairs, it brings a moment of peace.
Incense helps with self-care, creating a peaceful break time in your busy life as in aromatherapy and meditation. Effective fragrances are aloeswood, kyara, hinoki, lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, lotus, geranium, and osmanthus.

07.多而不厭 (Taji fuen)- When it is plentiful, one never tires of it.
Incense does not get in the way in your daily life. Depending on your mood, you can experience different fragrances. Try something new such as vanilla, cherry blossom, rose, or coffee!

08. 募而知足 (Kani isoku)- When there is little, still one is satisfied.
Even with a small amount of incense, it releases a fragrance for a while even after it stops burning. Some of the popular long-lasting fragrances are kyara and premium sandalwood.

09. 久蔵不朽 (Kyuzou fukyu)- Age does not change its efficacy.
Incense can be stored for a long time while keeping its effectiveness.

10. 常用無障 (Joyou mushou)- Used every day, it does not disturb.
Many people burn incense as part of their morning or nightly routine. Popular fragrances for everyday use are sandalwood, aloeswood, hinoki, myrrh, and whatever your favorite is!

The benefits of incense displayed in the ancient “Ten Virtues of Koh” help us deepen our appreciation for incense even to this day. Take a moment and go through these ten benefits while burning your favorite incense.

Recommended Nippon Kodo incense for various fragrances:

Sandalwood: MORNING STAR 200 sticks, ITTEN, Chie, Meikoh Shibayama
Premium Sandalwood:
MAINICHI BYAKUDAN-short stick, UME KOMON
Aloeswood:
JINKOH JUZAN, EIJU, OEDO-KOH, Chie -Agarwood
Kyara (Premium Aloeswood):
KYARA KONGO, KYARA KIKU BOTAN, Premium Short Stick Gift Set
Palo Santo:
Chie-Palo Santo, Chie-Purification, MORNING STAR 200 sticks, SCENTSUAL-Mellow Palo Santo
Patchouli:
MAINICHI-KOH Selected, HERB & EARTH
Frankincense:
MORNING STAR 200 sticks, Asian Elegance (cone)
Pine:
OEDO-KOH, MORNING STAR 200 sticks
Hinoki:
MAINICHI-KOH Selected, Chie, SCENTSUAL-Calm Hinoki Mint
Jasmine:
KAYURAGI, HERB & EARTH
Myrrh:
MORNING STAR 200 sticks
Ginger:
KAYURAGI, SCENTUAL-Yuzu & Ginger, SCENTSUAL-Bitter Pink Ginger
Lavender:
KA-FUH, SCENTSUAL –Brilliant Blue Lavender
Osmanthus:
KAYURAGI (cone), ESTEBAN Interior Garden Nature-Blooming Tea



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