Image by Marianone via FlickrOK, it's a week early. Bodhi Day falls on Wednesday, December 8th this year. I was going to write something and the schedule it to post then, but I've been noticing that my most popular post (since the Google stat tracker began for Blogger last summer) is consistently "Happy Vesak/Buddha Day 2009!", with 62 views this week and 15 today. I am not sure why it is so popular, but I am happy it may be helping some people. It is funny because it is really a post that is appropriate to the Bodhi Day holiday, wherein Siddhartha realizes his complete and perfect enlightenment, his spiritual rebirth, rather than Vesak, the celebration of his physical birth. This year Chanuka begins today, and Advent started this past Sunday, so this is also an interfaith celebration of the anticipation of light coming to the darkness.
The enlightenment of the Buddha is important for all peoples of all religions and none. It reminds us that we are all connected to each other and the whole of existence, seen and unseen, described and undescribed. That we -- flowers, dogs, humans, stars and beyond -- are children of a joyous mystery that has been variously called holy, mindful, and ineffable. It is found in the wonder that even the most cynical atheists feel staring out into the cosmos, called the spirit of God by some and known as Buddha-nature by others. It also reminds us that unhealthy attachment to rituals and ceremonies, to specific images, etc, can hinder our efforts to seek the fullness of our being, and that the hardest choice we have to make in our seeking is one of surrender. Blessings to you, whoever you are whatever you believe. The blessing is already a part of you. Accept yourself and share that blessing with others.
ADDED: After posting I checked my email and found this quote sent to me today: "Claiming your own blessedness always leads to a deep desire to bless others." --Henri Nouwen