Celebrating the Buddha's Enlightenment

December 8, 2010

December 8, 2010

Buddhists around the world traditionally observe today, the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, as the day Siddhartha Gautama (best known as the Buddha) attained enlightenment.  The Sanskrit word for awakening or enlightenment is bodhi, thus today is often referred to as Bodhi Day ζˆι“δΌš.

The story goes that Siddhartha had resolved himself to sit at the base of a Bo tree (ficus religiosa) until he had discovered both the root and cause of human suffering, as well as the means by which to liberate oneself from this dis-ease (duhkha).  The result of his contemplative struggle with the mental obstacles of doubt and temptation form the heart of Buddhist teachings -

The Four Noble Truths:
1) Life is best characterized as a constant state of dis-ease
2) This unsatisfactoriness is due to continual craving and desire
3) There is liberation from this suffering - Nirvana
4) There is a path, or way of living, which will result in the extinguishing of perpetual craving - The Noble Eightfold Path

In an effort to enter into the same reality that the Buddha experienced some Zen practitioners have been practicing intense meditation for the past week.  This is in hopes of both attaining satori (a glimpse of enlightenment) and as a way of honoring this historic awakening.  If you find meditation too difficult though there are other ways of celebrating Bodhi Day.  Please consider this link to Family Dharma Connections where you'll find a few less demanding suggestions (think lighting candles and making Bo leaf cookies).  Happy Bodhi Day!

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