Thursday, September 29, 2011

Exist with the Self for Lamp

"Exist with the Self for Lamp" is a saying attributed to the Buddha, meaning that we should exist in the Universal Spirit. Certainly a lamp is the symbol of divine souls in many cultures. When I was in Turin, it was the 150th anniversary of the Italian Republic and this decorated square was just one of the many displays that accompanied celebrations. The symbolism of the lamp really derives from light - the lamp is the framework for diffusion of light in Buddhism and in Islam, light is the manifestation of the lamp. I would say that this careful display gives some expression to these beliefs. They look a little oriental don't they? Lamps were set at the top of Buddhist pagodas and were called "the lighthouses of the Dharma". A red lamp represents the truth in lodges of many Chinese secret societies. In the West, we also associate the lamp with contemplation and holiness. But the custom I like best is that of the Berbers. They set a lamp near the new born's head and maintain it for ten nights. Now that same lamp was carried in front of the bride and kept burning through her wedding night. The light represents a person.