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Sed Gyued Monastery

Lamp Offerings

Lamp Offerings

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Lamp Offerings

Since Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment 2,500 years ago and dispelled the darkness of ignorance that obscures the mind’s true nature, lamp offerings in Buddhist practices have symbolized this realization. Each lamp offering celebrates the Buddha’s enlightenment and thus is associated with great good fortune.

For Tibetan Buddhist practitioners, a lamp offering also carries the wish to attain buddhahood and the aspiration to recognize the clear light at the time of death, thereby experiencing liberation in that moment. In this way lamp offerings are associated with transitions in one’s life.

Lamp offerings are best made before consecrated representations of fully awakened wisdom, loving-kindness, and compassion.

Lamp offerings are made for any individual or family life event that is celebrated, such as the birth of a child, the marriage of a couple, the graduation of a son or daughter, the birthday of a friend, and the anniversary of one’s parents.

Lamp offerings may also be made in difficult times or uncertain transitions. The gift of light and the accompanying prayers help to bring about less suffering and greater happiness in times of illness, loss, uncertainty, and death. Lamps may be offered for a parent who is facing an operation, for a friend changing careers, for a student facing a difficult exam, and for a family member experiencing extreme stress. At the time of someone’s death, it is traditional to offer a bardo lamp for 49 days.

There are ten benefits of making light offerings:

  • One becomes like the light in the world.
  • One achieves the clairvoyance of the pure flesh eye [as a human].
  • One achieves the devas’ eye.
  • One receives the wisdom of knowing what is virtue and what is non-virtue.
  • One is able to eliminate the darkness of ignorance, the concept of inherent existence.
  • One receives the illumination of wisdom, even in samsara one never experiences darkness.
  • One receives great enjoyment wealth.
  • One is reborn in the deva or human realms.
  • One quickly becomes liberated.
  • One quickly attains enlightenment.


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