Happy Rohatsu!

Today is Rohatsu (臘八), often referred to as Bodhi Day (佛成道節), the day Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment. As I’m grateful to have learned from the following blogs, today is also the culmination of sesshin for many Buddhists with a Zen meditation practice. I encourage you to check out these posts that I found about elsewhere in the Buddhist blogosphere.

Bodhi Day, as celebrated on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month, is typically an East Asian and Mahayanist Buddhist holiday. The celebration of Rohatsu is rooted in a Chinese pre-Buddhist festival, but has been since been firmly recontextualized in the Buddhist tradition. In contrast, Theravada Buddhist tradition customarily celebrates Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinibbana on the same full-moon day of Vesak (roughly May). I’ve also got a hunch that Vesak, in turn, is rooted in pre-Buddhist Indian tradition. Just something to think about for the folk who advocate stripping Buddhism of its “Asian cultural baggage.” Happy Rohatsu!