For the deceased –
Traditionally one can offer lamps for the 49 days after someone’s death, or every 7th day during the 49 days, or just on the first or last day. Even if the deceased had no particular religious affiliation, we make light offerings to ease their passage after death, with the wish that they make a positive future connection with a true spiritual path.
For someone undergoing suffering –
For anyone experiencing problems or life-threatening conditions, we offer butterlamps and dedicate the merit to that person and all beings who are suffering, with the wish that suffering and its cause may be dispelled.
As a prayer for someone’s long life –
You can offer butterlamps on the occasion of someone’s birthday, or if someone is ill, or at any time regardless of the conditions they are experiencing. This may also be done for the lama, with the wish that they remain long in this world to bring benefit to beings.
Arranging butterlamp offerings
Each butterlamp costs US$1.50, and a lamp lit at night will last well into the next day, as we use the larger size lamps, not the smallest ones. You may offer any number of butterlamps from one to 300, and they can be offered all together or for a number of days. Whatever dedication you wish to make at the time of your offering will be read aloud as part of the puja, and the names of the deceased or those facing obstacles will be put on the prayer list for a specific period of time.
Payment can be made by telephone or online (see below) To arrange an offering by phone, please call us on (707) 632 5629 during office hours to give your credit card details (do NOT leave this information on our voicemail)
Alternatively you can download the offerings PDF and mail with a check to: Ati Ling, 23125 Fort Ross Road, Cazadero, CA 95421. (This is where the offerings are made, so your request can be processed quickly).
We offer secure online credit card processing for making butterlamp (or tsog) offerings. Click below and you will be directed to the Padmasambhava Peace Institute’s secure payment site — the Institute handles all such offerings on Ati Ling’s behalf. International credit cards are also accepted. From the ‘Apply my donation to’ pull-down menu, select ‘Butterlamps’.
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche in a teaching on butterlamps explains:
“In the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, we accumulate merit in order to create positive short-term circumstances such as health, wealth, and longevity and, more deeply, to reveal our wisdom nature.
What is the meaning of butterlamp offerings? We do not offer butterlamps because enlightened beings need to see them. Rather, the offering of light is a means of dispelling the darkness of our own ignorance, giving rise to clarity and wisdom. We offer them with the wish that their light will illuminate the lower realms and the bardo, assuaging the torment of beings who suffer in darkness. We also aspire that all beings will develop greater mental clarity in order to discover the causes of long-lasting happiness in virtuous actions of body, speech and mind. Finally, we offer them so that the inner light of great knowing will arise in the minds of all beings and remove the darkness of ignorance and intellectual obscurations.
The pure and excellent ones to whom we offer are the Three Jewels — the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, who encompass all enlightened beings; the Three Roots — Guru, Yidam and Dakini; and the dharma protectors.
We exercise great care in offering, for the merit created is dependent upon our pure motivation, visualisation, and proper gathering and preparation of the substances. If everything is done mindfully, our merit increases, as do our positive qualities. On completion of our offering, we dedicate the merit for the benefit of all beings so that this accumulation of virtue cannot be destroyed.”
(Khadro Ling, Brazil, 1999)