BASIC METHOD :
With this method of burning incense you'll actually be "heating" or smoldering the incense, not burning it directly on the charcoal. This method of burning incense is especially good for aromatic wood chips.
Fill a heat proof incense bowl or censer with at least 2" of sand, or natural ash. This will provided some much needed insulation for your burner. Charcoal can burn at up to 1500 degrees F.
If you filled your burner with sand (instead of ash) form a cone shape so that you can place the charcoal tablet at the peak. This will allow air to flow around the charcoal.
To light any type of charcoal it is recommended that you keep a candle by your censer. Hold the tablet with pinchers, charcoal tongs, chopsticks or carefully with your fingers, over the candle flame or lighter until the edge begins to glow. The Golden type will emit sparks as they ignite. Place coal in the prepared censer.
Wait until the charcoal is covered with grayish-white ash. Be sure to wait until this layer of ash forms to cushion the incense from the direct heat of the coal.
This will take about 5 minutes or so. If you like you can fan or blow on the charcoal to help get the whole tablet started.
If you're using ash, you may want to cover the charcoal with a thin layer of ash or salt. If you're using sand, loosely cover the charcoal with a small piece of foil (you can even make a small foil cup). Making sure the charcoal has enough air flow at the top so it doesn’t go out. Sand doesn't allow the charcoal to breathe like ash does.
Place your incense directly over or next to the ash covered charcoal. If using sand, place it on the foil.
The charcoal will stay hot enough to burn incense for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Be sure to store your charcoal in an airtight container, tin foil, or plastic bag when not in use. Moisture in the air can make the charcoal difficult to light.