Bodhi Day, Rohatsu, or Waking Up

Beliefnet Buddhism contributor Britton Gildersleeve gives personal insight into Rohatsu.

BY: Britton Gildersleeve


A Heavenly Place

Read more from Britton at Beginner's Heart !

Bodhi Day -- or Rohatsu, as it's known in Japan -- is the day the Buddha awakens. It's the day he finds enlightenment, sitting under the pipul tree.

A dear friend asked me the question I'm usually asking: so what? What does Bodhi Day mean? Disclaimer here: I'm not a worshipping kind of Buddhist. I don't believe the Buddha was a god, nor even divine. The whole point to Buddhism is that a human being did this -- achieved enlightenment. And that the rest of us -- because he elected to teach -- can also choose that path.

So here's what I believe, and why Bodhi Day is important:

I believe in little enlightenments -- like the day I realised that all the people and beings and plants and seas and fallen stars still live. In our breaths. That as we breathe out, we breathe our own cells into the air. And as we breathe in, we breathe in dinosaurs and comets and poets and bees and Frederick Douglass and Christopher Marlowe and Rumi and wars and loss and love and all that makes up our amazing world. And this connects us. To each other ~ in a kind of web that extends in all directions. Forever.

Continued on page 2: Golden Light »

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