People of many cultures celebrate feast days or commemorative holidays according to cycles of the lunar calendar. In the christian world, Easter comes to mind. In the Islamic world, Ramadan or the other muslim holidays are celebrated. The same holds for the Buddhist practitioners. Today is a full-moon day.
At this time of year we have Bodhi Day. Today celebrates the moment that Siddhartha Gautama became the Awakened One or the Buddha.
The Indian prince Siddhartha had spent many years studying various spiritual and religious practices under many gurus and masters as well as intensive practice alone. He was still unsatisfied with the search for the answers to life’s greatest problems. Arcane, esoteric wisdom and practice, while fascinating and profound, does not offer useful, practical solutions to everyday snags in our existance.
Siddhartha vowed to sit under the Bodhi Tree or Pipal tree until he had the answers or became enlightened. He mentally wrestled with delusions and fears for a week.
On the eighth day he became realized and finally became awakened to the realities of life and how to deal with its unsatisfactory nature.
Upon this realization, he declared, as his witness, the earth itself. This is when he touched his right hand to the ground in a significant gesture. Many Buddha statues depict this moment. From this time forward, he became known as The Buddha or Shakyamuni Buddha (the great sage of the Shakya Clan).
Later, Shakyamuni Buddha began teaching his wisdom to fellow seekers and to laypersons. The beginning of his teachings signifies the beginning of the turning of the “Wheel of Dharma”.
These Dharma teachings most importantly stressed the teachings of the Four Noble Truths. 1. The truth of the unsatisfactory nature of life. 2. There are causes for the unsatisfactory nature of life. 3. The fact that there is a practical solution to transend this unsatisfactory nature. 4. The method of the solution is the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path is divided into three parts. Wisdom contains 1. Skillful View and 2. Skillful Intention. Ethical Conduct contains 3. Skillful or Right Speech 4. Skillful or Right Action 5. Skillful or Right Livelihood. And Concentration contains 6. Skillful Effort 7. Skillful or Right Mindfulness 8. Skillful or Right Concentration. These aspects, Wisdom, Ethical Conduct and Concentration are called the Three Higher Trainings.
If a person practices these philosophical and practical trainings along with the motivation of renunciation, a person will be led to liberation and enlightenment. In everyday language this is called sanity. There you have basic Buddhism, in a nutshell. Anybody of any or no religious background can do these things. They are not mysterious nor religious. They only require sincere, diligent effort.
The root of all of this kindness and wisdom is what is being celebrated in many countries today on Bodhi Day.
The Blue Jay of Happiness hopes this post has been of benefit to you.