Bodhi Day Meditation Practice

“When we spend time in meditation and experience moments of peace and harmony, we come closer to the basic goodness that is the actual core of our being.”

—Lama Dudjom Dorjee, “Seclusion and Meditation”


Today is 108 days until (lunar) Bodhi Day 2022

108 days

September 24, 2021 - January 10, 2022

75 days to western Bodhi Day

September 24, 2021 - December 8, 2021


There are technically two Bodhi Days, see below. Fixed date and lunar date.

Will you join in a practice of meditation as many days as you can until these celebration days?


What is Bodhi Day?


Each year on December 8th, Buddhists celebrate the day that Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment through meditation. The word Bodhi means awakening or enlightenment.


Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, is popularly known as the Buddha. Siddhartha, once an Indian Prince, eventually abandoned his life of luxury for a much simpler one. Many believe that Siddhartha resolved to sit underneath a Bodhi tree and meditate until he found the root of suffering and how to free himself from it.


It took 49 days of unbroken meditation. After becoming enlightened and experiencing Nirvana, Siddhartha became a Buddha, or “Awakened One.” For 2,500 years, Buddha’s enlightenment has served as the central tenant of the Buddhist faith.


The Bodhi tree grows near the banks of the Falgu River in Gaya, India. Also located there is a Buddhist temple. Buddhists consider it their most sacred site of pilgrimage.

HOW TO OBSERVE #BodhiDay

While the day celebrates the founder of the Buddhist faith, the day quietly reflects the ways of enlightenment. No parades or fanfare herald the name of the Buddha through city streets. Some eat tea and cookies. Others decorate a Bodhi tree. For most, it’s a day of meditation. Even if you’re not Buddhist, you can still participate in this day.

  • Learn about Buddhism, listen to a dharma talk

  • Meditate

  • Light candles to signify Buddha’s enlightenment.

  • Read books about Buddhism, including Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings, Taking the Path of Zen, and Mindfulness in Plain English.

  • Watch documentaries about Buddha, including The Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha, and Angry Monk.

BODHI DAY HISTORY

Some Buddhists celebrate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death all on one day. They call the celebration Vesak, and follow the lunar calendar to prepare for the observance. Mahayana Buddhists in China, Korea, and Vietnam break up Vesak into three separate holy days. One of the three days includes Buddha’s enlightenment or Bodhi Day. Mahayana Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day on the 8th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar, which means the dates change from year to year.


In Japan, however, Bodhi Day follows the Gregorian calendar. This is thanks to Emperor Meiji, who began the westernization of Japan when he ruled from 1867 to 1912. Every year, Bodhi Day in Japan is celebrated on December 8th. It’s not known what year it became a day of celebration.

When is the Next Bodhi Day?

There are really two Bodhi Days each year. The “Secular” Bodhi Day, celebrated on a fixed date in much of the Western World and Japan, is December 8.

The other Bodhi Day is based on the lunar calendar so, like Easter, the date changes year to year. The next Lunar Bodhi Day is January 10, 2022. The last one was January 20, 2021.

When I saw lunar Bodhi Day is 108 days for today I had to write this because 108 is an auspicious number.


The Significance of Number 108


The significance of the number 108 is open to interpretation. Over time, there has been much spiritual and scientific relevance given to the number. For many, the number 108 is a sacred number.

Here are some spiritual and scientific meaning and facts attributed to the number 108:

The wholeness of existence – Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as the number of the wholeness of existence. Astronomically, there are 27 constellations in our galaxy and each has 4 directions. 27 x 4 = 108. In other words, the number 108 covers the whole galaxy.

Sun, Moon & Earth

The distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.

The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.

The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

Earth, Time and Body connection – Just like a circle, the Planet has 360° and each degree is divided into 60 minutes. One of these minutes’ accounts for one nautical mile. That means the circumference of the Earth at the Equator is 21,600 nautical miles. On average, we take this many breaths a day. This connects our human body with the planet.

Mala Bead/Prayer Beads – In Hinduism and Buddhism, a mala comes as a string of 108 beads plus one guru or guiding bead. (A mala is like a Catholic rosary and is used for counting as you repeat a mantra.)

The Chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.

‘Harshad’ Number is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. 108 is a ‘Harshad’ number. ‘Harshad’ in Sanskrit means ‘joy-giver.’

Meditation – There are believed to be 108 different types of meditation.

Paths to God – Some people believe that there are 108 paths to God.

Dance Forms – There are 108 traditional Indian dance forms. (Traditional Indian dances are used to worship God or tell stories of God.)

In Buddhism, there are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals, 108 lies humans tell and 108 human delusions.

108 feelings – Buddhist believe there are 108 feelings calculated as follows:

6 Senses (Smell, Touch, Taste, Sight, Hearing and Consciousness)

x 3 Pleasant, Painful or Neutral feelings

x 2 Internally or externally generated feelings

x 3 Past, Present or Future feelings

Therefore, 36 past, 36 present and 36 future feelings = 108

In Yoga, 108 Sun Salutations are often practiced to honor change. For example, to bring peace, respect and understanding at a time of tragedy or to honor the change of seasons.

Tibetans have 108 sacred holy books.

In Jainism, there are believed to be 108 virtues.

108 Steps – Many Hindu and Buddhist temples have 108 steps.

In Japan, at the end of a year, a bell is chimed 108 times in Buddhist temples to finish the old year and welcome the new one. Each ring represents one of the 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana.

Lord Buddha is believed to have given a teaching answering 108 questions which are contained within the Lankavatara Sutra (Buddhist scripture).

In Gnosticism, (an ancient Christian religion), it is believed that an individual has 108 chances, or lifetimes to eliminate ego and transcend the material world.

Atman/Soul – In Hinduism, it is believed that the soul or inner self (Atman), goes through 108 stages of spiritual development.

In Taoism, the Wu style of Tai Chi has 108 postures.

Lord Buddha’s footprint is imprinted with 108 auspicious illustrations.

In Islam, the number 108 refers to God.

In the Bible, the words ‘first born’ is used 108 times. The words ‘in truth’ and ‘to forgive’ are used 108 times in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Angel Numbers – the number 108 is a message of support and encouragement. A cycle in life might be coming to an end but new opportunities lay ahead.

1 = New beginnings, intuition, insight.

0 = Development of one’s spiritual journey and listening to your intuition.

8 = Manifesting positive abundance, personal power, a desire for peace and a love of humanity.

The Sanskrit Alphabet has 54 letters and each has a masculine and feminine form (Shiva and Shakti) 54 x 2 = 108

Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in England is 108 feet in diameter.

There is a lot of consider here and taking all of this into account, with a simplistic viewpoint, you could say that the auspicious number 108 connects science with human mind, body and spirit.

May you be encouraged to practice and gentle and compassionate with yourself in this endeavor.

May you know me by my heart,

Beth Herzig


Sources:

https://bodhiday.org

https://www.thezenlife.com/blogs/news/the-significance-of-the-number-108

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/bodhi-day-december-8/