19
Feb
11

Buddhist ceremonies: Offering butter lamps

In Buddhism offering light signifies the stability and clarity of patience, the beauty which dispels all ignorance.
According to many Rinpoches: “It is also excellent to offer the butter lamps, candles or light because this act of offering  symbolizes burning away our mental afflictions of desire, aggression, greed, jealousy, pride and so forth. The other part of the symbolism is that it is a way to burn away our illness.”

“Offering butter lamps is the most powerful offering because their light symbolizes wisdom. Just as a lamp dispels darkness, offering light from a butter lamp represents removing the darkness of ignorance in order to attain Buddha’s luminous clear wisdom. The lamp offering is a sense offering to the Buddha’s eyes. Because Buddha’s eyes are wisdom eyes, they do not have the extremes of clarity or non-clarity. Our ordinary eyes, however, are obscured by the darkness of the two defilements, gross afflictive emotional defilements and subtle habitual defilements. While the Buddha does not have desire for offerings, we make offerings for the purpose of our own accumulation of merit & wisdom. Through the power of this accumulation, we can remove the cataracts of our ignorance eyes in order to gain Buddha’s supreme luminous wisdom eyes. When we offer light, the results are the realization of Clear Light wisdom phenomena in this life; the clarification of dualistic mind and the dispersal of confusion and realization of Clear Light in the bardo; and the increase of wisdom in each lifetime until one has reached enlightenment.

Traditionally, butter lamps are also offered as a dedication to the dead in order to guide them through the bardo by wisdom light. We can pray as well that this light guide all beings of the six realms, removing their obscurations so that they may awaken to their true wisdom nature.
With genuine faith & devotion, visualize that with your offerings, countless offering goddesses offer immeasurable light to all enlightened beings.

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2 Responses to “Buddhist ceremonies: Offering butter lamps”


  1. March 18, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Especially revealing, looking ahead to coming back again.


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