Tomorrow Begins the Secular Bodhi Season of 2018


If we were Siddhartha Gautama living today, November 30, 2018, it would probably be a really crappy day. It could be a day so bad we capitulate to the fact that our hopes and dreams will never come true. We’re out of fuel with old age and decades of struggle now a physical barrier to those hopes and dreams.

I’m certain there is an ancient legend, the equivalent of the movie, Rocky, that inspired Siddhartha to never give up, fight beyond any pain. I was at that impressionable age when that movie came out. I had a lot in common with Rocky … poor, tough, no useful connections to bigger opportunity … just tons of spirit.

So yes, I relate somewhat more to Rocky than Prince Siddhartha. The three of us, however, share an indomitable, relentless spirit, the insanity to keep pursuing our hopes and dreams.

It wasn’t a mistake for any of the three of us to relentlessly pursue our hopes and dreams for all those years. Pursuing them fueled my escape from “da rock” (Hawaii), got my wife of over twenty years, and lots of heady, but “failed”, endeavors over these forty years of my career as a software developer. But I’d gone ten thousand rounds with Apollo Creed and I sure did feel like it.

Last year at this time, like Siddhartha Gautama, I wearily plopped down under a metaphorical bodhi tree to catch my breath and ponder what the fuck it was that I had been doing. It wasn’t the first time I sat under a big tree to ponder that. But all those other times after I caught my breath, I got back up to go another few dozen rounds with Apollo Creed, pursing my hopes and dreams. The so-called definition of insanity, right?

My hopes and dreams. In other words, out of all the countless possible outcomes for a life and all against those billions of others pursuing their hopes and dreams, I would not be happy until that condition was met. Maybe my odds for achieving those conditions were better than pinning my hopes on winning the lottery. But while, say, one in a hundred is magnitudes better than one in a hundred million, it’s still very crappy odds.

You’re alive if you’re reading this. Be proud of yourself for that, no matter what, because you survived – most creatures don’t get very far. Now let go of those hopes and dreams. Thank them for serving its purpose into getting you this far and toughening you up. You may not feel tough, but you are, even if you’re in a wheelchair, blind, or deep in debt. Because you’re still alive and enlightenment, freedom from suffering, is in the next instant.

Now find your Bodhi Tree for the “Secular Bodhi Day” next week, December 8, 2018. Empty your mind of what you think you know. Drop your burdens, your beliefs. Drop your armor and let what you think is you expand throughout the Universe. That may sound flowery, but that’s because you think you’re just this solid blob of water that feels a pinch. That’s all you are in any instant of time, but the Universe is more than an instance of time.

Faith and Patience to You,

Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku


Links to the other posts belonging to this set of Bodhi Day 2018 posts:

Five Days Until the Bodhi Season

Bodhi Season starts in five short days, December 1, 2018, for seven days of meditation, and awakening on Bodhi Day, the morning of December 8, 2018. Mrs. Hanamoku and I have our Airbnb cabin booked, I have three work days off, and we head out to a new Bodhi Day place next week Thursday (December 6, 2018).

Remember that meditation is not just when you’re sitting in a quiet place, focusing on your deep breathing, and being mindful. Although I’m working for much of the Bodhi Season, I’m still meditating. Meditating while at work is just as much meditating as it is during that minority of time you’re in a quiet room. Keep a Beginner’s Mind and cut all that we cling to, always with the spirit of, “Is that so?”

This is a very short post. Yours truly, your good Reverend Hanamoku, has been working on an entrepreneurial software project over the past few weekends, so I haven’t written much on either this site or But I will post at least a short thought, words of encouragement for your Bodhi experience, for each day of the Bodhi Season (December 1 though 8).

Some day I’ll talk more about that entrepreneurial project. It’s pretty much Version 7 of something I’ve built over the past 15 years or so.  But don’t worry that I’ve become materialistic. The nature of this software is very Zen. Software is my Zen Art. If you’re a fellow Business Intelligence Developer and carefully consider what I’ve written on, you should get the gist of what I’m doing.

Faith and Patience,

Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku

Goddess of Love is Now the Morning Star for Bodhi Day 2018

Seeing Venus for the first time in 2018 from the parking lot of my work place at about 6:20am.

After the combination of daylight savings time a couple weeks ago, the leaves fallen off the trees, and the motion of Venus herself, I was able to see her for the first time this year as the Morning Star at about 6am.

Venus is a big part of Bodhi Day. Siddhartha Gautama awoke from his meditation on the morning of the 8th day of the 12th moon to “the Morning Star”. Whether or not it was Venus – it could have been Jupiter – I prefer the much brighter Venus for Bodhi Day.

The Morning Star is also important to me, having grown up as a Shingon Buddhist. Kobo Daishi, the founder of Japan’s esoteric Buddhism, Shingon, reached enlightenment reciting the Morning Star mantra a million times – in one sitting:

Nobo akyasha kyarabaya Om arikya mari bori sowaka.

It takes a while to recite it without stumbling. I think it took me about a week of one hundred reps per day before it suddenly gelled and I could recite it smoothly.

So for my Bodhi Day celebration, I try to be somewhere with great odds for a clear morning. I live in the Western U.S, so there are very many deserty places where there is that high probability for clear skies as well as a far horizon (no pesty mountains and trees blocking my way – hahaha).

Only three weeks to go before Bodhi Day!! Although I consider this first sighting of Venus as the start of Bodhi Season. So get on the wagon, go vegetarian, double-down on your faith and patience – or wait until after Thanksgiving.


The Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet’s 1st Bodhi Day Anniversary

Rubber Ducky’s Bodhi Day meal. But instead of rice and milk, we made him grits since he loves corn mash.

Today is the first anniversary of the Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet’s enlightenment. His Bodhi Day!


I believe this is the first photo I took of Rubber Ducky after this enlightenment.

Here is a little story from a few days after Rubber Ducky’s enlightenment. I think it was November 6, 2017.

When I got “home” from an incredibly fun day with my new friends … I thought I lost Rubber Ducky. I know Rubber Ducky was in my pants pocket as usual when I got in the car to come home. But he wasn’t there as I changed to go to bed. I hadn’t been home long, so there weren’t many places he could be. I looked through the car first, then along the path from the car to the house, rifled through stuff I brought in, my backpack, grocery bags. No Rubber Ducky.

It seems like folks who become enlightened soon leave this realm and I thought that was the case with Rubber Ducky. Well, if Rubber Ducky did leave, it was a day of fun suitable for his last day.

Then I thought I’d check the car one more time. I put on my shoes, jacket, got the keys, and there he was in one of those “compartments” by the gear shift. That’s not too odd, but I really don’t remember taking him out of my pocket.

He said it was a test of losing my dukkha. At least for this test, I guess I did very well. I readily accepted that Rubber Ducky moved on. “Is that so?”, as Hakuin would say.

However, counter-intuitively much more impressive, is that when I found Rubber Ducky, I was equally accepting as when I thought I lost him. This part is hard to grasp that it sounds like life is supposed to be this even-keeled, dull, thing lacking incredible rushes. But there is a Universe of difference between the freedom not-clinging brings and the very temporary high of a victory, that “dopamine rush” (or whatever) or even a “meth high”.

Lastly, I wrote a new post on our sister site, The Teachings of the Eternal Fishnu, titled, I’m a Buddha Trapped in a Man’s Bodhi. It’s dedicated to the 1st anniversary of the Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet’s enlightenment,