Buddhists consider ignorance, lack of wisdom and lack of knowledge as the origin of all problems. The biggest challenge the world faces is ignorance and ignorance are often metaphorically portrayed as darkness. To get rid of ignorance or darkness, the best thing one can do, is to light the lamp. Hence, the offering of butter lamp is the offering of wisdom and light of knowledge to eradicate darkness or ignorance.
The flickering of lamp flame holds great significance and it is an embodiment of the fluid nature of any situations in life and that all things, good or bad, will come to an end. The principle of inter-dependency in Buddhism is also exemplified by the lighting of butter lamps as without a chalice, there would be no place to hold the butter, and without butter, there would be no place to hold the wick, hence there will be no flame. This series of steps also remind one of the theories of inter-dependence. When we continue to light the second lamp using the first one, we can repeat our actions until the third, fourth, fifth and more butter lamps are illuminated. This is again representative of how all things in this world are inter-dependent.
The process of offering butter lamp is o a spiritual & meditational practice. The traditional practice of preparing a butter lamp starts with washing one’s hand, wearing a mask to protect from contaminating the lamp through one’s breadth, making the wick out of pure cotton and cleaning the butter out of the chalice with a reserved specific clean piece of cloth. After lighting the butter lamp, there are different prayers one can chant and the most popular of all is the marmey moenlam. The final prayer is dedicating the merit one has accumulated during the practice to free all sentient beings from darkness.