Tomorrow is December 8th or Bodhi Day, which celebrates the Enlightenment of the Buddha. After decorating the regular Christmas tree this week, I pulled out a mini-Christmas tree (the same as used last year), and we started decorating that too. My daughter chose most of the ornaments, including the DIsney ornament at the top, featuring “Tiana” from The Princess and the Frog.
I plan to do a little “Christmas-like” ceremony tonight with my daughter by leaving some cookies for the Buddha, symbolizing the offering of food to Shakyamuni by the peasant girl before he meditated under the tree. Tomorrow I have a gift-wrapped present for her containing arts and crafts. I am also taking the day off from work since it is a religious holiday and so I can spend time sight the family.
Bodhi Day in the US sometimes gets confused with Rohatsu which is a Zen-specific monastic ritual for Bodhi Day centered around more intensive meditation practice. But for lay-Buddhists (including Zen Buddhists) with family this isn’t normally feasible. Me? I’ll endeavor to follow the 8 precepts tomorrow and otherwise just try to be a good father and husband.
I know some folks might be expecting the usual sermons I like to give on days like this, but the truth is is that I have no time or energy for it. Frankly, I don’t feel particularly qualified to do it anymore (that’s why there are trained, professonal clergy) nor do I feel I have the energy to write anything about Bodhi Day that hasn’t already been said in past posts.
But for Buddhists everywhere I wish you Happy Bodhi Day!
P.S. Part Two.