Light (āloka) is electromagnetic radiation at a particular wavelength. In the form of lamps or candles light is one of the three things used in the Buddhist pūjā or contemplative ceremony, the others being flowers and incense.
In Buddhism, as in most traditions, light is used as a metaphor for or is compared with wisdom or understanding because of its characteristic of being able to make things visible.
Rāhula, the Buddha’s son, called his father the ‘Torch bearer of Humanity’ (Sn.336).
The Buddha sometimes challenged his audience ‘Will you not seek the Light?’ (Dhp.146) and he referred to his enlightened disciples as ‘Bringers of Light’ (It.80).
Once he said to his monks: ‘You should shine forth’ (sobhetha), meaning that their behaviour should be an inspiration to others (Vin.I,187).
When informed Buddhists light or place lamps before a Buddha statue, they contemplate the majesty and liberating power of wisdom and resolve to make it more a part of their daily lives.