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Buddha’s Enlightenment Day
Every year on the 8th day of the 12th Month of the lunar calendar, Korean Buddhists celebrate the enlightenment of Buddha who was a prince of a small ancient Indian kingdom. After practicing austerities for 6 years, he forsook his austere practices to practice the middle way. Under the bodhi tree, with deep concentration, he realized the nature of all things to become fully enlightened. He became the Buddha, the awakened one.
Temples throughout commemorated this holy day in various ways such as: all night meditation, 3000 bows, 100 X recitation of the great Shim-myojang-gu dharani, path to enlightenment game (created by the great Seon master Seosan), cultural performances, and presentation of scholarships.
Buddha’s Enlightenment Day Message of Ven. Jaseung
Let us gain enlightenment by arousing the light of inner wisdom.
The eighth day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar is when Lord Buddha gained complete enlightenment. In order to free suffering beings caught by birth, old age, sickness, and death, Prince Siddhartha gave up wealth, power, and worldly pleasures to take on the path of a mendicant. He practiced six years under the bodhi tree. At last, with the early morning star, he understood the nature of everything in the universe. He became the Buddha, teacher of gods and men.
To commemorate this day, I hope we can quietly and completely examine the origin of our suffering and the reality around us. This world does not exist just for the “I.” Because self and other are not two, and the other is actually just another “I.” Social conflicts and conflicts among individuals, if we look closely, stem from the attachment to the “I” and selfishness. If we take away the divisive mind, the real world will be seen. The middle way of interdependence realized by the Buddha, is the path of true understanding in which self and other, our society, and all living beings can become happy.
Let us light the inner lamp of wisdom and put away darkness of our minds. If we can see our true nature, all the suffering and difficulties of our neighbors, our conflictive relationships will be revealed. In this time of economic adversity and social conflict, I sincerely pray that we can create together a great stream of understanding and harmony.