Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Happy Bodhi Day!

For Buddhists, Bodhi Day is an opportunity to acknowledge dedication to the principles of wisdom, compassion and kindness — the distinguishing features of the Buddhist worldview.
For Bodhi Day, bake Bodhi cookies (which contain no Bodhi trees)

On December 8, Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day, the day when Siddhartha Gautama, on seeing the morning star at dawn, attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree and became the Buddha, the “Awakened One.” Buddha’s enlightenment has for 2,500 years been the central article of faith for Buddhists of every school, sect, and nationality, as well as being the unifying principle of all Buddhist teaching.

A holiday named after a tree lends itself to special decorating:

To the layman, a good way of recognizing this important event in Buddhism is to dwell on its meaning and place reminders in the home of this event. Often, colored lights are strung about the home to recognize the day of enlightenment. They are multi-colored to symbolize the many pathways to enlightenment. The lights are turned on each evening beginning on December 8th and for 30 days thereafter. A candle is also lit for these thirty days to symbolize enlightenment.

In Buddhist homes, you will sometimes see a fiscus tree of the genus ficus religiousa. Beginning on Bodhi Day, these trees are decorated with multi-colored lights, strung with beads to symbolize the way all things are united, and hung with three shiny ornaments to represent the Three Jewels – The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
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