The Ten Virtues of Koh

Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong

The art of incense appreciation, known as kodo (koh-do), has been practiced and refined over its long and distinct history.

Some time in the fifteen century, Japanese Zen Buddhist monks transcribed a document relating to koh (incense) which described the many qualities and benefits of incense.

This document was called the ‘Ten Virtues of Koh’ and continues to inspire many incense aficionados in the modern age.

Kodo (Way of Fragrance), together with kado (Floral Arrangements) and chado (Tea Ceremony) are collectively known as the Three Classical Japanese Arts of Refinement.

The Ten Virtues of Koh

  1. It brings communication with the transcendent.
  2. It refreshes mind and body.
  3. It removes impurity.
  4. It brings alertness.
  5. It is a companion in solitude.
  6. In the midst of busy affairs, it brings a moment of peace.
  7. When it is plentiful, one never tires of it.
  8. When there is little, still one is satisfied.
  9. Age does not change its efficacy.
  10. Used everyday, it does no harm.

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