Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Bodhi Day!

In Japan, December 8 is observed as the day the Buddha reached enlightenment. For Buddhists, I suppose, it's kind of like Easter is to Christians.
Last night, I tried to explain to my four-year-old daughter the significance of today's date. I told her the story of the Buddha, and to simplify it, I said that today, many years ago, Siddhartha Gotoma sat beneath the Bodhi tree and became a Buddha.

To this she said, "So it's his birthday."

At first I was about to correct her, but then I realized that in a way she was right. In a sense, the Buddha's awakening was a kind of rebirth.

Sensing this, she said, "Can we have a birthday party? With pink and blue balloons!"

I said maybe. I'm such a sucker.

Today is a very--if not the most--important day for Buddhists (or at least for those who recognize today as Bodhi day). If I could, I would take the day off work and sit in meditation. Next year I plan to. For me, today is the anniversary of one of the greatest moments in history--the day that Buddha realized the Dharma.

I can never express enough appreciation for the Dharma and the Buddha's selfless commitment to humanity. Every moment of every day I try to embody the Awakened One's extraordinary teachings. Thank you so much, Buddha!

With infinite reverence and gratitude, I bow.

Photo of Bodhi tree borrowed from Creative Commons flickr user: Peter Garnhum.

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