Big butter lamp

Buttering lamp

Buttering lamp?

I enjoyed reading your answers to the last Big Picture. And knowing that we’d get a few more interesting answers, I was tempted to keep the question open. But I visited the National Memorial Chorten today, and decided to announce the answer.

The big picture was, indeed, a big butter lamp in the National Memorial Chorten. Dinesh Pradhan answered first. He didn’t mention “butter lamp”, but it’s obvious he knew what the picture was and where it was taken. Dinesh, please contact me, by email, to claim your prize: lunch at the Musk.

The gigantic butter lamp, a tshen barma, is at the National Memorial Chorten. Like most of the other butter lamps there, it was donated by a devotee. This particular lamp holds five and half tins – that’s 88 kgs – of vanaspati, and can give continuous light for three months. That’s a lot closer, literally, to the ideal butter lamp espoused in the original “Marmi Moenlam”. Its composer, Songtsen Goenpo, compares the oil in the perfect butter lamp to a vast ocean, and the wick to an upright cypress tree.

I went to the National Memorial Chorten today to observe the Moenlam Chenmo and Bazaguru Dungdrup that is currently being conducted by the Central Monastic Body. The week-long prayers for the well-being of our country are being led by His Holiness the Je Khenpo.

I’ve posted some pictures of the Memorial Chorten in our gallery.