When is the Lunar Bodhi Day for 2019?

Last week Thursday (Jan 31, 2019), Venus was very close to the waning crescent moon. Mrs. Hanamoku got a nice shot of it.

Today is Chinese New Year! The Lunar New Year. So I thought I’d mention the date of the next Lunar Bodhi Day.

The Lunar Bodhi day for 2019 is January 2, 2020. That is, the 8th day of the 12th New Moon of the lunar year that comprises most of 2019, which begins today, February 5, 2019.

As always, the standarized “secular” Bodhi Day 2019 is December, 8, 2019.

Here are a couple other blogs explaining the secular and lunar Bodhi Days:

Lunar Bodhi Season 2018!

Happy Bodhi 4715!!!

Today begins the Lunar Bodhi Season for 2018! That is, it begins seven days of meditation that ends the morning of  the eighth day, Sunday, January 13, 2019, Bodhi Day.

But Isn’t it 2019? It’s the 12th New Moon starting from the Chinese New Year – a lunar calendar –  back on February 16, 2018. Really, this is Bodhi Season 4715 in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. I discuss this in more detail, in this blog, When is Bodhi Day 2018?. Mrs. Hanamoku and I celebrate both the Secular and Lunar Bodhi Days. However, we do place more emphasis on the former since it does come first.

A few weeks ago, during the Secular Bodhi Season of 2018, I posted a series of blogs for each of the seven days, starting with Tomorrow Begins the Secular Bodhi Season of 2018. Please do read that set, one for each of the upcoming days – as you would an Advent Calendar. I intended the series for both the Secular and Lunar Bodhi Seasons of 2018.

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

Although Siddhartha Gautama did literally meditate under the Bodhi Tree for these seven days, I can’t do that. There’s this earning a living thing that gets in the way. But we do “meditate” in a few other ways. My primary meditation during that Secular Bodhi Season last month took the form of spending two or three hours early in the morning before heading to work (3am to 6am) writing each of those blogs.

Mrs. Hanamoku and I also stick to a simpler diet, pretty much vegetarian; certainly no sugar, alcohol, or other stuff that’s “not good for you”. Since the Secular Bodhi Season is in December, we’re even more mindful of keeping “the Christmas Spirit”.

However, I’ll leave with a new little lesson to help with your meditation during this next week.


In most martial arts (although here I’m referring mostly to the Japanese styles), there is a notion of kiai (pronounced like key-eye). This is that “hi-yah” sound you often here during fight scenes in martial arts movies.

I was taught it as a very sharp “long A” sound (like the A in bake). Most important than the actual sound, it comes from deep in the belly. Think of like doing crunches and saying A at the contraction of your ab muscles.

What is the purpose of that noise? At the time of this writing, the Wikipedia article for Kiai doesn’t mention anything about the really important aspect it, just a very superficial, although valid, interpretation:

“Students of Japanese martial arts such as aikido, karate, kobudo, kendo, or judo (or related arts such as taiko drumming) use kiai to startle an opponent, intimidate, express confidence, or express victory.”

However, the kiai is more to affect you than to affect your opponent. Its real value is in reigning in your focus when it starts to wander. It brings our minds back to the present, away from fears based on the past or what hasn’t happened, or things that don’t matter. The more we’re in the present, the more we fit into the flow.

It’s for that purpose that I keep a bell with me during meditation, a gentle kiai to bring me back if (when) my mind wanders.

Faith and Patience to you!

Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku

When is Bodhi Day 2018?

The Lunar Bodhi Day for 2018 is on January 13, 2019.

Here’s the explanation:

Bodhi Day is defined as the 8th day of the 12th Moon of the year. That’s how it’s described as the morning Siddhartha Gautama awoke from his deep meditation roughly 2500 years ago.

There are several ways to interpret the “12th Moon of the year”. The Eternal Fishnu said we should consider that to mean the 12th New Moon on the Chinese Calendar. The Chinese New Year for 2018 began on the New Moon that occurred on February 16, 2018.

Why the Chinese Lunar calendar? Simply because it’s a widely used lunar calendar, and close enough to Bodhgaya, India, the site of the Bodhi Tree where Siddhartha Gautama’s Bodhi Day happened.

If you looked up the lunar calendars, such as on Calendar-12.com,  you may see a few little inconsistencies to what I’m saying in this blog.

One has to do with time zones. Lunar calendars on the Internet are usually time-zone sensitive today, so the days may be different. For example, the 12th New Moon of 2018 starts on January 5, 2019 at 6:29pm U.S. Mountain time. But it’s well into January 6 in Bodhgaya, India (11 and a half hours ahead of U.S. Mountain time).

Another is “leap year” in Lunar calendars. As we know, the Lunar periods are around 30 days, which means 12 moons is about 360 days. After a while, those approximately 5 day difference with the 365 day year adds up. There is a need for “leap year”, which means some years will have 13 moons.

Last year, 2017 was one of those “Chinese Leap Years”. The Chinese lunar year had 13 moons. So the first new moon of the Gregorian 2018 calendar, January 16, 2018, belongs to the Chinese Lunar calendar of 2017.

However, the “standardized” Bodhi Day, which is what I call the “secular”, is on December, 8, 2018. That is, the 8th Day of the 12th Month of the year. It’s mostly the day chosen for celebration in Japan.