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The lantern

The lantern(Deong;燈) is called a D?pa in Sanskrit. It stands for the enlightenment that light the ignorance in our mind like driving back the darkness. So what we light up a candle means that we enlighten the darkness of anxiety, and also express our wisdom mercifully.
  The Buddha turned up in this world to teach the act of mercy to mankind. we lift up lanterns to pay tribute to the day of arriving of The Buddha. Like the candle burning itself to light the darkness, turning on lanterns means the sacrifice and the mercy. Various sublime lanterns contains the respect and the admiration for The Buddha and Buddhist saints.
  Dipamkara(Youn Deong;燃燈) Buddha is The Buddha in the past that gave a note to The Buddha Sakyamuni. When The Buddha Sakyamuni made a good relation undergoing discipline as a Yudong Bodhisattva The Buddha Sakyamuni gave seven lotus flowers to Youn Deong Buddha and The Buddha Sakyamuni helped him to go through by lying on the muddy ground. Moreover when Youn Deong Buddha came up he provided Youn Deong with a tile containing sand. The Buddhism explain that The Buddha exist in three forms circulating three spaces. That is, Youn Deong is past Buddha and present Buddha is The Buddha Sakyamuni and coming thing is The Future Buddha.
  Youn Deong means that we light the lantern in the Buddhist altar. Originally this word comes from a legend which is called 'The lantern of a poor woman(貧女一燈)'. The buddhist sacred book, 'Hwa Um(華嚴;Avatamsaka-sutra)'  says that a light praying for mercy repel the three evils. Another book, 'SiDeongGongDuk(佛說施燈功德經)' says that if we light a lantern and put it in the Buddhist altar we enjoy the comfort, and we will be born after death where The Buddha lives. Besides It says that we can see the moon showing up. the group of heaven will look down on us and we find ourselves undergoing discipline in the tree of Buddha. Moreover we can find in that text that by lighting a lantern we can meet a pure body, a good idea, a excellent great power, a good sound, good relatives, good friends.
  A lot of Buddhist sacred books underline a provide of putting a lantern in the Buddhist altar. Therefore in rememberance of the arrival of The Buddha we have to get rid of ignorance, and light the lantern of wisdom. At the same time we have to awaken the profound mind of Buddhism, and live for others not for ourselves. This will lead us to the real ground of Buddhism.

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1) Lanterns began in India when a king named Asasa asked the Buddha to give a dharma talk. The villagers and sangha brought oil lanterns they had made for light on the evening of this talk. However, there was one very poor woman named Nhanta, who being without means, cut her hair and sold it for oil. The morning after the talk, all the lanterns were burned out, except Nhanta’s.

One of the Buddha’s disciples Ananda(阿難)asked him why Nhanta’s lantern was still burning. The Buddha said, “devotion with sincerity and great vow caused the lantern to keep burning.” Later the Buddha told Nhanta that her suffering was coming to an end and will soon become buddha. She was grateful for the news and asked to become a nun. The Buddha gave her precepts and the name of Eastern Light Boddhisattva.

Since then, people who have great vow light lanterns with sincerity. The wick represents great belief; the oil, great compassion; the bowls consciousness and the light symbolizes the bright light of our True Nature cutting through the dark ignorance of our deluded minds.

Monk Hwa Rang  leesj117@dongguk.edu

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