Bodhi Season is a lot like the first week or two of a diet to lose weight – as opposed to other health concerns or philosophical reasons, religious and/or ethical. Generally, a diet involves the removal of foods we’ve been eating, and we’re left with all the things that we would have been eating anyway if we liked it. Those first couple of weeks can be tough, but then something magical happens. You actually start to like those foods and even get used to the smaller amounts.
Your body optimizes for whatever you’re eating. When you first change your diet, your body, or gut ecosystem, is craving what it got used to processing, what you have been eating. At first tugs on the string to ring the bell on your brain, “Doesn’t a burger sound great.” But over a few weeks the composition of your gut bacteria and other things transforms, adjusting and optimizing to your new composition and quantity of food.
Your brain is like that too. It will adjust to whatever you’re feeding it. If you dwell on angry thoughts, you do become an angry person. If you’re fed enough propaganda of whatever brand, your brain does wrap around it and you start to believe it.
Bodhi Season is about starting a brain diet towards the goal of relieving your suffering, your dukkha. The Bodhi Day 2018 posts from Day 1, Day 2 , and pretty much everything on fishnu.org describes this “diet”. You could think of it like Christmas Eve night for Ebeneezer Scrooge of A Christmas Carol, when he spent the night forced to meditate on his past, present, and future, awakening a really likable guy for Christmas. That was Scrooge’s Bodhi Day.
Now, I’ve always been curious about what happened the day after Christmas when Scrooge and Cratchit got back to work, back to life without the warm blanket of Christmas to keep their hearts warm. Maybe life for Ebeneezer, Bob, Tiny Tim, and the rest of the good folks of Camden Town did live happily ever after. But we know that’s not the case for the rest of the world. Even after the Buddha taught his insights for over forty years after Bodhi Day, over 2500 years ago, life is still a great struggle for virtually everyone.
Yes, today is a work day for me, as well as for most people. As soon as I hit the “Publish” button I’m off to deal with deadlines, misunderstandings, people in more of a rush than me, getting five days of work done in three because Mrs. Hanamoku and I are heading out to the mountains on Thursday for a mini-vacation. The Life of Earth is founded on the rather simple rules of “survival of the fittest”, and it manifests everywhere in human society, even if we may “know better”.
Being at peace in the world is even tougher than dieting while watching some show on some media blasting food ads crafted by psychological geniuses. And that’s our real skill – being at peace in an unpeaceful world. But, keep in mind, “unpeaceful” does not mean “evil”. The Universe is this wonderful interaction of everything, every thing dependent on everything!
When I start a diet, the first thing I do is cut out sugar. It’s feasible because that still leaves me a lot of reasonably fun things to eat – but it’s a powerful step. Bodhi Day is the same. Go to work. Live your life. Nothing changes. The equivalent of cutting out sugar is to keep a beginner’s mind and be 100% accepting what is right there in front of you. I’ve written much on that as that is the skill of a Buddhist as clearly as the skill of a boxer is to box.
A very straight-forward way to put that into practice is to go out into the world and “Shut the f*** up and listen!”
Faith and Patience to You!
Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku
Links to the other posts belonging to this set of Bodhi Day 2018 posts:
- Tomorrow Begins the Secular Bodhi Season of 2018
- Day 1: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Buddhism is a Skill
- Day 2: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Have a Holly Jolly Bodhi
- Day 3: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – A Bodhi Day Carol
- Day 4: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Our Unique Paths
- Day 5: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Traditions
- Day 6: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Trip to Our Bodhi Day Place
- Day 7: Secular Bodhi Season 2018 – Bodhi Day Eve
- Bodhi Day 2018!