Bodhi Day Celebrates the Enlightenment of Buddha

Joylina Goodings

Bodhi day (sometimes called Rohatsu) is celebrated by Buddhists around the world because it commemorates the day when Siddhartha Gautama received enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in 596BC.  Siddhartha Gautama, was born in Nepal of a wealthy family and he was commonly thought to be a Prince. He lived a very sheltered life but, like many people, was very inquisitive and wanted to travel. As he travelled around his native country he witnessed much misery and suffering. This affected him deeply and at the age of 29 his left his comfortable home to travel and seek hte "meaning of life". (Something I think many of us do).  

He travelled widely and studied with many teachers. He tried many different disciplines of that age but he soon realised that this was not how to find the answer to that all important question. He therefore decided to meditate under the Bodhi tree until he had his answer. He fasted and meditated under the tree for a week and on the 8th day (which also happened to be his 35th birthday) he came to the realisations which lead to The Noble Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths which are the governing principals of of forms of Buddhism.  

This day can be celebrated by all as a day of enlightenment. For Buddhists it tends to be a day of meditation and remembrance very much like many holy days for all religions. Lights and candles are lite to symbolise enlightenment. Often small trees are brought inside and decorated much like a Christmas Tree. Sometimes Bodhi trees are decorated with 3 shiny ornaments to represent the Three Jewels, the Buddha, the Dharma (the path of righteousness by living one's life according to the codes of conduct as described by your religion - in terms of Buddhism this is protection from suffering by following the teachings of Buddha) and the Sangha (Community).