The 8th of December has come and gone which is traditionally the date when Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s Enlightenment. But, like the Buddha’s Birth in May, it is a movable feast and in the West Buddhists don’t tend to mark these events at all. In my tradition we do and here is an alter set up aglow with light and colour and may I say Love. It reminds me of times spent preparing festival altars, getting everything just so, standing back and taking it all in and then tweaking here and there. For me the celebration was all about the preparations. The care taken and then in the evening after the ceremony and the feast the sweet sadness of putting the altar back to its everyday arrangement. Such events marked the turning of the year.
Something in me wishes these important events in the life of the historic Buddha were more widely remembered and as in the monastery we could wish those around us Happy Buddha’s Enlightenment. There was genuine joy in that. So I was particularly happy to receive this photograph from Rev. Master Jigen based in North Norfolk who like other monks in smaller and larger temples ‘make the effort’ and join with others to sing and celebrate.
Happy Buddha’s Enlightenment even if a few days late.