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.