Buddhists and friends light candles and remind themselves of three important things: faith; non-dual relationship between ignorance and enlightenment; and the work of this moment.
First, as darkness can be transformed into light, so can your ignorance and delusion be transformed into the light of wisdom. Secondly, as we can see from transformation of darkness into light when a candle is lit, the light potential has been there right in the midst of dark from the beginning. In other words, darkness does not exist independent from light. Likewise, enlightenment is inherent in all sentient beings and has been there in your ignorance and delusion from the beginning like a gold nugget buried in the ground. Thirdly, it does not matter how long your room has been in the dark, just as it does not matter how long you have lived in ignorance and delusion. You can always wake up and transform delusion into wisdom. It is better to light a small candle than curse the darkness. Do the work of this moment, and wake up!
On the occasion of Lord Buddha’s Birthday Celebration, which is the most festive event in the Buddhist world, Buddhists offer lanterns in many different shapes in order to confirm their commitment to the Way of Buddha. Offering lanterns and lighting them after dark is a beautiful way of reminding oneself of one’s commitment and its influence on the world. Like a lighted candle which can serve many unlighted candles, one’s spiritual commitment and cultivation not only can illuminate one’s own life but also the lives of many.
It is an old tradition to dedicate a lantern on Buddha’s Birthday. Please dedicate a lantern to renew your commitment to help yourself and others attain enlightenment, to gain spiritual strength for your problems, or for the peace of the world and happiness of all beings, or on behalf of or in memory of a family member or friend.
Dedicate lanterns to family, friends, a lover, a partner, those in incarceration, or yourself. Dedicate lanterns to those who are deceased or ill, to those who live in hatred, or to your pets. Express your gratitude, let your good will prevail, send your prayer and good wishes, show that you love and care. Remember people who helped and inspired you and give them your thanks and love. Please feel free to make your own dedication and prayer.
Your dedications will be attached to the lantern, which will be hung in the Buddha Hall. Along with lantern dedication it is a custom to make a special donation to the temple in order to express your gratitude and support the good work.