Bodhi Season 2019, December 1 through December 8, is only a week away. So it’s time to start contemplating our week-long hike to the Grand View of the Universe to see it as it really is. On Bodhi Day, December 8, we will awaken from all that we were always told to be the truth to find it’s just the naive conclusions of the imperfect information of our brains. And we’re all enablers of each other, validating the same delusions.
The Truth is that our brains can’t begin to compute all that the Universe is, across all dimensions. And Life on Earth where we find ourselves is a pretty remarkable thing. She is marvelous and can take care of Herself – she has for billions of years.
To Life on Earth, each creature is special – just not in the way we normally think – not in the same way that we’re special to our parents or our spouse and children are special to us. To Life on Earth each creature is special in that we all play an intricate part in a huge, adaptable, cascading web of cause and effect. Emerging from the kaleidoscope is a three-billion year old macro life bigger on many dimensions than each individual tree, fish, dog, or human.
We think we’re all-knowing sentient individuals, but that’s only because we only sense a small fraction of what is going on at any instant. From this limited sensory, we aren’t normally conscious of the air and food we take in, all the neat stuff that happens to it, how it leaves us. It’s not aware of the unseen kingdoms of the trillions of bacteria working hand in hand with our trillions of cells. And that the only cells of our bodies that we normally see with our eyes are really among the least interesting.
Consequently, when we think only with our brains, a “device” optimized for simply surviving long enough to reproduce, our understanding of reality is pitifully flawed.
Bodhi Day is about the Awakening of Souls from the zero-sum limitations of our human brains. An automobile to a monkey is just a place of shelter.
Our Home, The Canyon
It’s from the low, fragmented perspective of our daily lives that life can seem a constant pain in the ass, mundane, sometimes terrible. It’s hard to see the unimaginable wonders of the Universe while we toil daily on the canyon floors of our individual minds.
On the canyon floor, there is a lot to learn! That’s why we’re there. But that’s not all there is, and most of us only know life based solely on the knowledge of the canyon floor.
On the canyon floor, we can’t see more than around the next turn. We look above for answers. Answers come, but our minds can’t receive them.
On the canyon floor, we’re frustrated because things don’t make sense, but we feel the security of the solid ground and procrastinate about venturing on up.
On the canyon floor we wonder. We have questions we never would ask had we not been there. But from down there, the answers are nearly impossible to fathom.
The Hike, Our Pilgrimage to a High Perspective
The eight days of Bodhi Season are about a strenuous yet gentle hike from the canyon floor of our daily lives to the high perspective where we will see how the pieces fit together.
Had we not started on the canyon floor, but were born directly to the high perspective, we would have answers to no questions.
Keep in mind that along the hike, there are different questions and answers at every step of the way.
As I have done over the past couple of Bodhi Days, I will post a message on each day of Bodhi Season, from December 1 through Bodhi Day on December 8.
In the meantime, before we get onto the Eightfold Path next week, the Eternal Fishnu offers three zen stories which are the foundation of his teaching.
If you’re new to Bodhi Day, looking through my past two series of Bodhi Season posts will give you a good idea of what Bodhi Day is about.
Here are links to a few of my more popular Bodhi Day references:
- Mrs. Hanamoku’s Bodhi Day Rice and Milk
- Bodhi Day Basics
- The Standardized Bodhi Day vs the “Real” Bodhi Day
- Bodhi Day Cookies
One last thing …
Many people are lead to this site searching out for Bodhi Day traditions, including games and activities. There are no group activities like secret Santa or Christmas caroling.
Unlike most holidays, especially those around the December timeframe involving lots of socializing, Bodhi Day itself is a personal experience. The seven days leading up to Bodhi Day will probably be filled with interactions as the holidays are celebrated and people rush to close out the year.
Bodhi Day is about the training of your mind – training your mind to flow with the dynamics of the world. As opposed to clunking along on wheels out of alignment – sort of the original meaning of dukkha.
“Should a drop in cabin pressure occur, put your own mask on first.” – Millions of flight attendants.
Isn’t the Holiday Season a time to be with friends and family? Yes, but there is a lot of time for that with Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and other traditions such as Hanukkah.
And those seven days of meditation for most of us are not going to be spent at a quiet monastery or National Park. You should really dig into your normal life for those seven days leading to Bodhi Day. Because enlightened or not on Bodhi Day, December 8, your daily life will be there just as you left it when you return to work on December 9.
Nothing has changed on the outside, but everything has changed on the inside.
Does this sound selfish? Is it selfish to work on your own awakening? It is selfish if your heart is not pure. By a pure heart, I mean that your desire is to train your mind – relieve your suffering – so you’re able to be of more value to others. The more efficient you are with the use of your energy, the clearer your mind, the more value you can provide for others.
Your mind and the Universe will know if your heart is pure. You can’t fool yourself into having an ulterior purpose of using enlightenment for personal gain. As with all creatures, Enlightenment will only grow in the appropriate environment.
In fact, that proper environment is really the theme for this year’s series of Bodhi Day posts starting on December 1.
As with physical exercise, only you can train your Buddha mind. No one can do it for you. On the flip side, you can’t change the minds of other to relieve their suffering. If you’re reading this, it’s because you brought yourself here. Something about awakening, Bodhi, is of interest to you. You are ready. You’re ready to take the time you need on yourself now and forever, to be of greater value to others.
A Wonderful Thanksgiving this week to you all!
Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku