Bodhi Day 2014: The enlightenment of the Buddha

Bodhi Day is a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the Buddha achieved enlightenment, translated as bodhi in Sanskrit or Pali. Bodhi Day is celebrated on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month. In 2014, Bodhi day is observed on Monday, Dec. 8.

Image by David Grubin

The Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama into a noble, privileged Hindu household. When he was close to 30 years old, he abandoned his material lifestyle and retreated to the forest seeking answers to the problem of suffering, specifically old age, sickness and death. According to tradition, he initially sought bodhi (enlightenment) through meditation, self-mortification and practicing other austerities.

After several years of intense practice, he realized that bodhi was to be found through meditation, but through a Middle Way, away from the extremes of self-mortification and self-indulgence.

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