When to Celebrate?

posted Feb 28, 2011, 6:26 AM by Jundo Cohen   [ updated Mar 20, 2011, 7:30 PM ]
"Bodhi Day" is the Buddhist holiday commemorating the day that the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautauma experienced enlightenment ("Bodhi" in Sanskrit and Pali).  A
fter spending years living the life of an aesthetic and trying vaious mental and spiritual discipline, he still had not found what he was searching for.  Because he could not find the answers to his questions, he finally vowed that he would sit under the "Bodhi tree" (likely a Pipul tree, also known as the Sacred Fig or Bo Tree, a type of Banyan Fig) until encountering the truth.  Siddhartha fasted and meditated under the tree for a week, and on the morning of the eighth day ("Rohatsu" in the Japanese language) came to realizations which were to be the principles at the heart of Buddhism.  It was here, as Siddhartha meditated and gazed upon the "Morning Star" (likely Venus rising), that he began on his long Teaching path. From that moment, he is called to the Buddha - The Enlightened One.  

Traditionally, "Bodhi Day" is celebrated on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month in East Asian countries that still observe this calendar.  In Japan, it has come to be observed on December 8.  For this reason, families can either follow the custom in one Asian country for that year, or adopt the week of December 8th. We will be recommending various celebrations and events to occur over the eight days leading up to Bodhi Day as well as, adopting the customs of some Buddhist schools, in the thirty days which follow. The days may also be adjusted to coincide with schools vacations if a family wishes to do so to facilitate participation by the entire family.