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dharma lamp (hōtō 法燈)

A metaphorical expression, which likens the dharma ( 法) to the "flame of a lamp" ( 燈) which can be passed to another lamp (i.e. from master to disciple) and thus be kept burning forever. In the Zen tradition, the transmission of the formless, ineffable buddha mind (busshin 佛心) down through the lineage of ancestral teachers (soshi 祖師) is referred to metaphorically as "transmission of the flame" (dentō 傳燈).