Bodhi Day 2015
Let us take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha (community)…
If you are not familiar with Buddhist “holidays”, today we celebrate the life and the Great Awakening of Shakyamuni Buddha who lived in what is now Nepal 2500 – 2800 years ago. It is not mandatory to celebrate this holiday of course but I thought it would be good opportunity for reflection.
Buddha awakened (which is the meaning of Buddha) to the true nature of reality after sitting under the Bodhi Tree for many days. He had “attained” enlightenment (nirvana) at age 35, when he realized found that all things are interdependent and have no intrinsic reality apart from everything else.
He taught that we ARE bliss and when we realize that everything is indivisible bliss and when we have that perspective and realize that all of us humans ARE Bliss and then we naturally want to help them out of their suffering so they can in turn feel bliss. So Nirvana is a neither a state of being nor non-being, but rather transcendent realization of the true nature of reality.
In many Asian countries Buddhists celebrate Bodhi day by meditating, studying the Dharma, chant sutras, and by performing kind acts for others.
If you want to read an overview of Buddha’s life that I wrote, then please Click Here
There is one interesting quote on Awakening attributed to Shakyamuni Buddha wherein he speaks to his disciples:
“Whatever precious jewel there is in the heavenly worlds, there is nothing comparable to one who is Awakened.”
Another way Buddha described his experience of Nirvana under the Bodhi Tree can be found in the “Perfection of Wisdom Mantra” which Buddha gave to his disciple Subhuti (which later made its way into the Heart Sutra):
Gate Paragate, Parasamgate, bodhi svaha
(“Go, go, go beyond, go thoroughly beyond, and establish yourself in enlightenment” as the Dalai Lama translated it.)
If you’re interested in learning more about Awakening or Nirvana, give the interesting podcast below a listen presented by Buddhist teacher Robert Thurman on “Buddhism as Realism”. Enjoy!
Feel free to leave any thoughts, comments, or questions below.