Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reflections: Happy Bodhi Day Everybody!

Bodhi Day or, in Japan, Rohatsu (meaning: the 8th day of the 12th month) is the day Buddhists celebrate Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, his great realization of truth.

Enlightenment isn’t such a big deal as I understand it. There are a lot of words out there that suggest this. For example, the quote most Buddhists have heard ‘Before enlightenment, the laundry; after enlightenment, the laundry.’ Or a better version I heard from Okumura, ‘Before enlightenment, the noble eight-fold path; after enlightenment, the noble eight-fold path.’

To honor the day, I did a little sitting until the sun came up… not the week long event celebrated at many places, although I did attend a short sesshin over the weekend.

I did have a bit of a realization I thought I should share, given that I vow to free all beings and all that…  And the realization is

Most suffering arises not because of impermanence, but because we view most things and circumstances as if they're permanent when, in actuality, they're not. 

Isn't this one of the things we realize from engaging in an outwardly simple seeming, actually infinitely complex, activity like zazen? Maybe due to zazen we learn to pay more attention.

Life would be pretty insufferable without change.

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