Thursday, April 16, 2020

Butterfly Dream: Butter Lamps Haiku by Sonam Chhoki

English Original

autumn offering
moths eddying in the light
of butter lamps

Autumn Moon Haiku,  1:1, Fall/Winter 2017–2018

Sonam Chhoki

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Sonam Chhoki finds the Japanese short form poetry resonates with her Tibetan Buddhist upbringing.  She is inspired by her father, Sonam Gyamtsho, the architect of Bhutan's non-monastic modern education and by her mother, Chhoden Jangmu, who taught her: “Being a girl doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.” She is the principal editor, and co-editor of haibun for the United Haiku and Tanka Society journal, cattails.

1 comment:

  1. The juxtaposition of Ls 1&3 ("light/butter lamp offering) is visually evocative and religiously and symbolically rich while the image of moths eddying in the light in L2 creates a concrete reminder of/offers a glimpse into this luring "world of red dust."

    FYI: "Butter lamps are a conspicuous feature of Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries throughout the Himalayas. ... The butter lamps help to focus the mind and aid meditation... Light means understanding because light represents wisdom. And light removes and dispels misunderstanding. All of our suffering comes from not knowing and not seeing. Offering lights or butter lamps indirectly removes confusion. Moreover, to be successful in life we need to have clear ideas and good understanding..."

    "Traditional way of lighting butter lamps

    Regarded as a spiritual practice, the traditional way of lighting butter lamps starts with washing one’s hands. A mask is worn to prevent one’s breath from ‘contaminating’ the purity of the butter lamp. Next, old butter is removed from the chalice using a clean piece of cloth and a new wick of pure cotton is placed within.

    The entire process is carried out in a very meditative manner, meant to draw one in both physically and spiritually."