R T & C U L T U R E ии S Y M B O L
|INTRO | USAGE | WHEEL | BODHI LEAF | ALMS BOWL | LOTUS | LIGHTS | FOOTPRINTS|
|Light is a symbol of the teachings - the light of Truth that dispels the darkness of ignorance.|
Fire is such a primal energy and the sun - as a halo,
disc, wheel or circle - is one of the most common religious symbols.
When you go into a dark room you turn on the light
to see what is in the room you want to see the 'nature'; of
the room. The light dispels the darkness. Ignorance is like a 'darkness'
of the mind. A candle is a symbol of the Buddha's teaching - the 'light'
of truth that dispels the darkness of ignorance. As a flame
can pass from one candle to another, so too can the truth be given
from one person to another.
It is interesting to note the way the Buddha presented fire as a symbol in relation to the Brahminic society of his time. The Brahmins used the maintenance of fire, both domestic and ritual, and the fire sacrifice as a central part of their faith and life. The Buddha used its cessation as both a symbol of the goal (nibbana) and of leaving the householders life (i.e. the fire) to persue the holy life. Nibbana can be translated as 'cooling' - 'to go out' - 'to be exhausted (of fuel)'. The image is of the passion of self being like a fire to which we continually add fuel - stop feeding the fire and it will go out. Where does it go? Out. [see: TEACHING - NIBBANA]
Another symbolic use of light is the halo or aura seen around holy beings as a symbol of truth, wisdom and purity of heart. Notice the halo and flaming torch on the Statue of Liberty. Light is not a solid 'thing' so it has to be symbolised. A halo is associated with the head and light around other parts of the body is usually called an aura. See BUDDHA IMAGES for further discussion of this.