On Seeing the Morning Star

Rohatsu – the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month, is a time when Zen Buddhists mark the date of Buddha’s enlightenment. It starts on the 1st of December and ends on Bodhi Day – the 8th of December. In the seven days leading up to the day of rohatsu, monks will spend their time in silent and intensive meditation. This period of intensive meditation is known as ‘sesshin’. This practice is the culmination of all the work that has been done previously in that year. (The last sentence is not quite how I would express the meaning of sesshin.)

Tomorrow here at Throssel we will be celebrating the Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment and over 50 guests are expected. The weather has been blustery with warnings of snow on high ground. We’ve certainly had our share of wind and heavy rain fall to-day, no signs of snow. Hopefully there will be some photographs of the festival altar published here tomorrow.

Ceremonies celebrating events in the Buddha’s life mark our year and give it shape. As do the monastic sesshins. The winter sesshin of Rohatsu started at Shasta Abbey today, ours starts on the 13th and ends seven days later on the 19th. The other sesshin is in the spring and traditionally ends with the Buddha’s Birth Festival, Wesak.

Please join us tomorrow by lighting some incense and offering it at your altar, if you have one. If you don’t, light some anyway and let the perfume permeate your home and know the Buddha’s Enlightenment permeates all time and space.

Fun Facts about Bodhi Day for children. Wikipedia on Bodhi Day.

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5 thoughts on “On Seeing the Morning Star”

  1. Dear Rev Master,
    I shall do just that – light some incense! I’m in the UK a few days, re-discovering shivering and the grey skies. But King’s College yesterday lit by a low sun against a cold blue sky reminded me why I like this country.
    Back to Singapore tomorrow night.
    In gassho

  2. That was a lovely entry to wake up to Reverend Mugo. I shall think of you all this morning when I prepare to sit, and light candles. Happy enlightenment day.

  3. I had a look at the “Fun facts…” link and found this sentence with a typo that tickled me –

    “The day reminds the ‘Zen’ and the ‘Sin’ Buddhists of a significant fact that if one tries, he can free his soul from this corporeal chain through hard ascetic practices.”

    Ah yes, a “Sin Buddhist” – that’s what I am!

    Enjoy the celebrations in Throssel. look forward to the photos.

    Namo Amida Bu!

  4. Thank you, Reverend Mugo, for the Rohatsu post. Something moves me to participate in my own way by turning off TV for the week (did backslide for 30 min. news & weather — the “Sin” Buddhist) and the radio in the morning and while driving. Sesshin among other things means searching the heart — virtually impossible amidst the noisy babble of the media.

  5. I’m well behind with responding to comments. Sorry. Even if there is no response I do read them all and appreciate hearing from you. Yes, sesshin. We even call it the Searching of the Heart, trouble is in the early days of sitting sesshins I worried my way through thinking I was going to find something! Possibly something I didn’t want to find. Of late I’m just glad to have the where-with-all to sit the retreat. Or as much of it as I can manage. So yes, please sit with us. Anybody, join in where you are. Just sit!
    And Walter, I hope you make it up here on one of your flying visits the the UK.

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