Mrs. Hanamoku’s Bodhi Day Rice and Milk

Bodhi Day rice and milk
Mrs. Hanamoku made me this Bodhi Day breakfast on December 25, 2017.

Below is Mrs. Hanamoku’s recipe that we enjoy every Bodhi Day! However, leftover rice and milk heated, nothing else, over the stove is fine if you want to live hard-core ascetic.


  • 4 C whole milk
  • ½ C rice – Basmati, Jasmine, or Japanese Sticky rice.
  • ½ C sugar
  • 2 tsp cardamom powder


1. Wash and soak rice for 30 minutes.

2. Bring milk to a boil.

3. Add drained rice to milk on medium heat. Cook until rice is done and mushy.

4. Add sugar and continue to cook until mixture thickens. Keep stirring during this stage.

5. Add cardamom powder and cook for 5 more minutes.

6. This desert can be served warm like oatmeal or cold like custard.


Why this Rice and Milk?

Most accounts I’ve read on the Internet of Bodhi Day state that Siddhartha Gautama was presented with a meal of rice and milk before he went into deep meditation under the Bodhi Tree. However, The Eternal Fishnu says that The Buddha received the meal upon his awakening from the meditation on Bodhi Day.

I believe The Eternal Fishnu’s version as he was there, and it seems to make a little more sense to me anyway. The accounts that state Siddhartha received the meal before says that it invigorated him for his meditation. To me, that would have disrupted his resolve to find Enlightenment. He really was in such bad shape that he was right at the door.

It seems more appropriate that this rice and milk meal symbolizes a literal breakfast (breaking of his long fast) than just nourishment, certainly not enough to make much of a difference over the seven days. The meal, so simple, so unassuming, is a perfect gesture to a brand new Buddha.