Today Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day, the day the Buddha experienced enlightenment or “Bodhi”.
2,500 years ago, a young prince in Northern India named Siddhartha Gautama sat beneath a fig tree and said, “Even though the flesh falls from my bones and the bones themselves crack, I will not get up from this seat until I have attained supreme and perfect enlightenment!” This determined young man then faced down all of his inner demons, defying and finally taming all of the temptations and distractions of greed, anger, restlessness, laziness and self-doubt. He finally attained a state of calm awareness. His mind had become like a clear and still pool which could perfectly reflect all things within it.
During the early evening, Siddhartha reflected on all of his former thoughts, words and deeds. He perceived within himself all of the many things that he had done and experienced in both the present lifetime and in all of the innumerable past lifetimes which became known to him in this state of clear calm awareness. He saw that he himself had created the destiny which had brought him to the point where he could sit beneath that tree at that time and to seek the answers to the great question of birth and death.
During the middle of the night, his awareness expanded to include the lives of all sentient beings. He saw that his life was indivisibly involved in the lives of all other beings. He saw how his life effected the lives of all others and how their lives effected his. Furthermore, he perceived that they too were the creators of their own destinies through the consequences of their own actions.
As morning approached, Siddhartha contemplated the cast network of cause and effect itself. He saw how all beings were intimately connected to one another in this vast network of mutual influence and creation. Like a vast net of jewels reflecting each others’ light and beauty he saw how all beings arose as part of an unending process of mutual creation. He also saw how ignorance of the true nature of reality was the cause of all the selfish craving which led to suffering, and he saw that this suffering could be ended through a life based upon the truth, the Wonderful Dharma.
As the morning star appeared in the sky, Siddhartha’s contemplations were fully realized in the fullness of the living moment in which the Wonderful Dharma is expressed. In that moment, Siddhartha became the Buddha.
by Ryuei Michael McCormick.