Lighting Vesak Lanterns

posted Feb 25, 2011, 5:22 AM by Jundo Cohen   [ updated Mar 10, 2011, 5:48 AM ]

ake Vesak lanterns with the kids! INSTRUCTIONS ARE BELOW. Each family member should make one to symbolize both the Buddha's light and the light within each of us that, when united together, can truly brighten a small space and our whole world. It also symbolizes the moment at which Buddha found the Truth and became enlightened. The lanterns (or candles in their place) can be lit each night for the week leading up to the day of the Buddha's birth, together with a family chant of the Three Refuges.

We take refuge in Buddha

We take refuge in Dharma

We take refuge in Sangha

Every night for the week before April 8th, light the lanterns or 3 candles at dinnertime while reciting the Three Refuges, to signify Buddha's search to end the impurities of greed, anger and ignorance, and to symbolize the three treasures: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.


In many places in Asia, Vesak is often celebrated by decorating the streets with handmade lanterns and colorful streamers. Instructions for making lanterns can be found various places around the Web, such as: