Happy Lunar Bodhi Day!!
Monday, January 10, 2022 is the 8th Day of the 12th new moon of the Lunar New Year that began on February 12, 2021.
In the Hanamoku household, the full Bodhi Season starts on December 1 and ends on the Lunar Bodhi Day. We actually have three Bodhi Days:
- The “secular” Bodhi Day, December 8,
- The anniversary of the day our cat, Bodhi, came to live with us, December 27.
- The Lunar Bodhi Day, the 8th day of the 12th month of the lunar year.
In fact, Bodhi Season really begins a few months earlier for me as I post guidance for those preparing for Bodhi Day. Each year has a theme. This year it’s our “gift of sapience”. Here is a list of this past year’s posts on that theme:
- Sapience and Creativity
- My Early Bodhi Day
- Is this All there is?
- Physical Space in a Virtual World
- An Infinity of Boxes
- High-Hanging Fruit
- The Man with the Bag
Please note that there are two Lunar Bodhi Days during the calendar year of 2022. That’s due to the lunar calendar thing. The next lunar Bodhi Day during 2022 is on Friday, December 30, 2022.
Nani desu ka?
Mrs. Hanamoku and I just finished off what appears to be the last of the kaki (persimmon) for this Fall/Winter. It felt like a symbolic end to the Bodhi Season. Their Holinesses, the Eternal Fishnu and the Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet celebrated with us in the picture below.
We like to slice them horizontally to see the beautiful flower pattern shown below.
Mrs. Hanamoku says that when she buys kaki at the supermarket, people always ask her about it. What is it? Where does it come from? What does it taste like? How do you prepare it? It is still kind of exotic where we live.
I’ve loved kaki since I can remember. They were certainly well-known in Hawaii when I was a child over fifty years ago. My grandmother had a big kaki tree. I’d shoot down the high-hanging fruit at the stem with my pellet gun (yes, I was a pretty good shot).
Outwardly, the kaki from her tree looked like the ones in the photo. However, until they were seemingly on the verge of rotting (blood red and almost mushy), they were extremely bitter. The kaki we buy today have no bitterness even when sort of green – similar to that of not-ripe plums or peaches.
I did realize something else, though. I wouldn’t have been able to horizontally slice the kaki from my grandmother’s tree as I do with these. Each of those petal-like shapes actually should hold a seed, somewhere between the size of a nickel and dime. No seeds in the way with these modern kaki.
I know that isn’t mind-blowing. Headline reads: “Man Slices Kaki Horizontally!” But it’s a mundane example of how our gift of sapience is fertilizer for the wonders of Life on Earth. What is mind-blowing is that what can seem like a single “major event” is actually the unique result of countless little things.
Individually, each little thing goes mostly unnoticed by our human minds, but the cascading effects from complex interactions between them is the spring of creation. It’s the silly little things, seemingly mundane, easily overlooked by most, that are the seeds of creation as well as vital patchwork to adjust unintended side-effects.
In this case, eating a “green” kaki would be a funny prank to play on my grandmother if she came back to life. But most likely green kaki wouldn’t have much near-term impact on our lives. It’s more the big picture of how we can design fruit that can be eaten green, travel thousands of miles, resist pest and disease, and grow in great abundance.
How does that wider scope that began with the implications of seedless and non-astringent kaki affect the world? From that point of view, countless ways that could be good or bad, depending on where you draw the box. Or how or why you draw the box. Or better yet, think of what Ringo says: “Drawin’, thaht’s easy. Undrawin’, now thaht’s a fahncy trick.”
I’ve heard people say things along the lines of “ideas are cheap”. That’s not true at all. Ideas are the fruit of our gift of sapience, a gift from the Universe that is often more than we deserve.
Ideas are not distractions pulling our mind away from the present. Rather, we must have the sensitivity (kuzushi) to see and feel ideas relevant to our present and the open-mindedness of an empty cup to drink the idea. Ideas are the gems you see in a dark mine when the flashlight is on it.
It may seem that ideas appear cheap because ideas are just talk until it’s manifested. Or it may seem an idea isn’t new. But that’s only when you look at it from afar. Our gift of sapience crafts unique ideas based on templates from the past.
That cheapness or lack of novelty of ideas is an illusion because each idea is in the context of a unique place and time. When an idea is executed, a new place and time has come about requiring even more ideas for that time and place. So one might think the original idea wasn’t a good idea after all. Creation is a web of ideas.
There is Beauty Beyond the Ugly Stage
Don’t fear all that is going on right now. There have always been “problems”, very often things have been worse. The Eternal Fishnu confirmed to me that humankind several times reduced to just a few dozen people.
Life on Earth is abuzz with creativity. It is a work-in-progress, it is art. Art can be scary at times. There is an ugly stage all art passes through. In the middle of the ugly stage, it seems like things will never come together. But it’s always a good sign of progress. We may even find out that what we thought was the piece we are working on is just scaffolding for something better.
So we embrace it all with spirit, which is still there in all of us. An old karate teacher of mine taught me that we can make more money, more friends, but if we lose our spirit, we’re done. Zen is about strength of spirit at all kinds of times, especially the ugly stage.
This is the “season finale” for this 2021/2022 Bodhi Season. Make yourself Mrs. Hanamoku’s Rice and Milk pudding! We will see you all somewhere on the Path between now and next Bodhi Season!
Faith and Patience,
Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku