Photo Story: The Arya Kshema Incense Project

Photo Story: The Arya Kshema Incense Project

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15 nuns joined forces with professional Chinese incense maker Ru-Ruei Chung,  translator Ani Jangchub  and Dr Dawa  to make high-quality Tibetan incense, an income generation project to support the education of the nuns.

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Gyalwang Karmapa visited the workshop every day to check on their progress.

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Using only the best quality, natural ingredients, the nuns’  first task was to grind down the herbs and special substances.

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This was done by hand using  traditional methods: a large round stone was used on a stone surface. It was physically demanding work and many nuns suffered blisters during the nine days it took to prepare all the ingredients.

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His Holiness worked alongside the nuns.

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And also spent time conferring with Dr Dawa and Ani Jangchup Dolma.

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The ingredients had to be measured carefully and mixed together.

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The mixture was then fed through a special machine to produce long spaghetti-like strands of incense.

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These strands were carefully separated…

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And cut to the same length...

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His Holiness took a keen interest in all parts of the process.

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The incense was laid carefully in wooden boxes and placed on the roof to dry.

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Once dry, the sticks of incense were divided equally

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And packed into bundles.

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The bundles were placed in individual boxes with an explanatory leaflet describing the contents and benefits of the incense.

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This is the most expensive incense made from 13 special ingredients.

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The blue boxes contain the cheaper one which contains only 2 ingredients.

Altogether the nuns made 1600 boxes of incense for sale.