Today is the day that Japanese Zen schools celebrate Rohatsu, also known as the Buddha’s enlightenment day (Japanese: Jōdō-e, 成道会). Many Zen Buddhists mark this day often the week leading up to it with diligent practice, as James Ford (from Monkey Mind) did; and here’s his post-Rohatsu sesshin post.
In the Western Buddhist world, it is probably the second best known Buddhist holiday after Vesak (Pali: Vesākha), which is still celebrated according to the lunar calendar, taking place on the full moon usually occurring in the Gregorian months of April, May, or June.
Borrowing from a post in 2011:
This week we celebrated Rohatsu, the Japanese Buddhist celebration of the Buddha’s enlightenment. For Theravadins, he was born, enlightened, and died on Vesak, which falls in May or June in many places, or April in China, Japan, Korea according to wikipedia – which seems to mean that Japanese Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s enlightenment twice. In any case, along with very nice messages from Shako Yuinen at the Buddhist Military Blog, James at the Buddhist Blog, and Uku at Zen – the Possible Way, came a very poignant story of redemption and acceptance through practice.
Marking the occasion this year, I’ll re-share some of my photos from Bodhgaya from 2010: