Dzogchen Monastery / Lotus Ground Incense

Lotus Ground Incense is one of the finest offerings to be imported from China in the modern age, a truly spectacular, refined incense of an uncommonly high class. Sold in single or double rolls, this is a world class incense, not only among the best Tibetan China has to offer, but quite arguably the most sophisticated and Japanese-worthy scent to be offered. Not only is the stick slightly thinner than most Tibetan sticks, but it’s also redolent of extracts and perfumes directly on the stick.

When I first opened the box I knew this one would be special as it gives off a strong, spicy aroma like a combination of cinnamon, saffron and musk. And strangely enough, cinnamon isn’t even listed in its primary group of 17 ingredients, which also include red and white sandalwood, titepati, ganden grass, jattamasi, sunpati, aggur, kushum flower, surchandan and saldhoop. I would expect some of these ingredients show up as extracts as this is as redolent a Tibetan incense off the stick as you’ll find.

Aromatically this is also fairly unusual in that the smoke content’s a bit lower than it normally is for a Chinese Tibetan incense and the remaining ash tends to a brick red color, which is fairly unusual for any incense. The scent is both mellow and striking in its intensity, a rare balance, that puts the saffron, cinnamon and musk up front as the base aroma, but also implies a much greater complexity than these three afford in their own right. There’s definitely an unsual floral element at work that winds its way through the burn almost like it’s playing hide and seek, in fact the nature of this incense is almost like a sine curve in the way that it’ll play subtly in the background and then whip out to stun you with its pristine and regal bouquet. Like most excellent monastery incense it has loads of juju or spiritual potency at work and it seems difficult to not call this incense a product of the fire element, like kundalini at its very base, indeed its playfulness is very much like watching the flickering of a flame.

Overall it’s difficult not to see this one close to the apex of incense art, along with Tibetan Medical College, Samye Monastery, Medicine King and Highland incenses, but even with that said there’s even a greater refinement on this one, as it’s not quite as wild and untamed as the rest of these. Ultimately it’s a brilliant, classic incense that gets the highest marks I can give it. Tis a really prescient find via Essence of the Ages and the bonus is it’s also quite affordable, running about $13 a roll.

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17 Comments

  1. Waldo said,

    November 20, 2013 at 7:07 am

    The new release (Fall 2013) is subtle in its power. Though delicate and focused, you realize it’s strength only when you leave the room and find its exquisite scent has permeated adjacent spaces with its beauty within minutes.

  2. November 18, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Amazing, amazing incense. The scent is well-balanced, rich, spicy, and has a sweetness that dances in and out of the mix. You really aren’t fooling about the spiritual juju, you can feel it right through the packaging. That spiritual focus comes through in the incense too – how it transmits the calm focus of a monastery in the Himalayas I have no idea, but it does. Now (fall 2013) it’s $50 a box. And worth it – the scent is so powerful about an inch of a stick is plenty for a medium-sized room.

  3. Lars said,

    July 2, 2012 at 6:47 am

    EOTA has it back it stock, but it has doubled in price.
    Is it still worth it?

    • Mike said,

      November 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      I think EOTA has sold out, it went really fast. But this last batch was definitely well within the parameters set by this review. It’s a little different, new batches always are, but it’s essentially the same incense.

  4. October 27, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    [...] Dzogchen Monastery / Lotus Ground Incense – This one is resonating with me a lot like Holy Land did with me in the first few months after purchase and this is as red and spicy as the Asuka is green and singing with chlorophyll. This is truly a Tibetan incense on another plane, very different from just about any other comparable incense, with a lot more oil content than you’d normally expect. Definitely a regular for me. [...]

  5. kristinc said,

    October 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    A friend sent me half a roll of this and I was absolutely blown away. I am no incense connoisseur (yet) but this has a smooth complexity head and shoulders beyond any other Tibetan incense I’ve tried.

  6. Robin said,

    September 25, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Does this incense include the lotus flower (or root?) essence or is Lotus just the name.

    • Mike said,

      September 25, 2009 at 12:12 pm

      It doesn’t say it’s included in the ingredients, so I’m not sure. It does have an uncommonly powerful oil presence for a Tibetan incense, but it doesn’t smell like any lotus I’ve ever tried.

    • BenA said,

      February 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      “Lotus Ground” is apparently the name of a retreat center at the Dzogchen Monastery.

  7. July 23, 2009 at 9:09 am

    [...] Dzogchen Monastery / Lotus Ground Incense – Still one of the most elegent, restrained and majestic Tibetan incenses on the market, aromatic Buddhist arcana at its most kundalini-like. [...]

  8. Mark said,

    July 13, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Just a bit of translation for the stuff I recognize: titeptti is Artemesia vulgaris or Mugwort ; jattamasi is spikenard ; sunpati is Rhododendron ; saldhoop is amber.

  9. Mike said,

    July 13, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Thanks Gary. The issue for me is that Tibetan “style” incense now comes from five or six different countries on the geographical map now due to so many exiled monasteries. My only point is to address that this particular incense comes from Tibet actual, rather than say Bhutan, Nepal or India. It is in no way meant to be political.

    • Gary said,

      July 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm

      Thanks Mike. Not to belabor it, but on the left hand column, under “Categories”, we see : China (Tibet). What follows are incenses manufactured within the “Tibetan Autonomous Region”. I had lived for several years in a Tibetan Buddhist Community when I was younger, so that might make me a bit over sensitive.

      • Mike said,

        July 15, 2009 at 12:59 pm

        Hi Gary, I’m glad you brought this to my attention. I’ve changed that category to Tibet Autonomous Region and also made the same change on the reviews index. Best – Mike

  10. Gary said,

    July 13, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Great review, as always. One point: Why are we referring to Tibet as China? I am sure the Chinese would be happy, but it is kind of a statement, don’t you think?


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