Bodhi Day Commemorates the Day that the Historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), Experienced Enlightenment
A spoiled Prince, he grew up unaware of the harsh realities of life. When he finally witnessed the poverty, suffering and death in his kingdom, he went out in search of the true meaning of life. After years of studying under multiple masters, he was destitute and near death when he sat under the Bodhi tree, a very old fig tree, where he stayed, meditating for a very long time (sources report anywhere from seven days to 49 years). On the morning of the 8th Day of the 12th moon of the year, Siddhartha Gautama awoke from his meditation, staring at the rising Morning Star, Venus. Enlightened. His realizations became the Four Noble Truths. He was now The Buddha, The Teacher.
Bodhi Day is celebrated with calm and peace, often with meditation, prayer, and performing acts of kindness. Some observe the day by studying Buddhist scriptures, reflecting on their personal journey towards spiritual awakening and recommitting themselves to the principles of Buddhism. They also enjoy a meal of cake and tea or rice and milk. Some Buddhists light candles or decorate for Bodhi Day by hanging strings of colored lights on trees or in their homes, representing the many paths to enlightenment.
There are actually two Bodhi days each year. The “Secular” Bodhi Day, celebrated on a fixed date in much of the Western World and Japan, is December 8. The Lunar Bodhi Day, which changes dates each year based on the lunar calendar, will be celebrated next in January 2024.
To our friends and colleagues celebrating, may the full moon of Buddha Purnima bring you blessings of inner peace, enlightenment, and spiritual awakening.
Happy Buddha Purnima 2023!
Bodhi Day Rice Porridge Recipe