Bodhi Day is a holiday that commemorates the Enlightenment of the Buddha and the start of the Buddhist tradition. It is December 8th.
The story is that Siddhartha Gautama, after years of trying different things, sat under a tree and declared that he would meditate until he found the root of suffering and the way out of suffering.
He entered deeper and deeper levels of meditation and he became Awakened to the truth about suffering. At this moment he had a profound realization and he discovered what we call the 4 Noble Truths and also the Middle Way. For a moment he thought he couldn’t share these teachings. He thought no one would really truly understand.
It’s because he changed his mind that we have the Buddhist tradition today.
Millions of Mahayana Buddhists around the world celebrate it at this time, especially Zen and Pure Land Buddhists. Some other traditions put the date on other places in the year. We can celebrate the Enlightenment of the Buddha any time, of course.
People usually celebrate it through addtional meditation, study of the Dharma, chanting Buddhist texts, and volunteering. Some Buddhists have a traditional meal of tea and cake.
My community, the Rime Center, is doing an online puja to celebrate Bodhi Day. Details to sign up are below. 6pm Central Time. Join us if you can:
The Rime Center will be hosting a special online puja to commemorate Bodhi Day. It is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, also known as bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali. Bodhi Day is observed in many mainstream Mahayana traditions.
Register in advance for this event to get the Zoom link.