Over 2,500 years ago Siddartha Gautama attained Enlightenment at the age of 35 as he sat meditating under the Bodhi Tree. The term Bodhi means Enlightenment and since that time each Dec. 8, Buddhists throughout the world express their gratitude to the Buddha for revealing the truth that saves all beings. By realizing the ultimate truth Siddhartha became Shakyamuni Buddha the awakened one.
Here, thousands of years later, things in our world have not changed that much. All around us we see human suffering, selfishness, a disregard for life, destruction of life and property. The Truth which Shakyamuni Buddha taught us, is a great torch in the middle of this darkness of human suffering.
As 2021 comes to a close and people everywhere celebrate the holidays including Bodhi Day we cannot help but recall, reminisce and remember all the lives lost through Covid, and many other causes. Despite the lives claimed in the past year, the human spirit and determination has endured. This is because as the Buddha said, we are more than just flesh and blood that is subject to impermanence and dissolution.
Nothing can defeat that which makes us more than flesh and blood. And that is our true inherent nature, the potential to evolve into beings of wisdom and compassion, to become Buddhas, as we reach our spiritual goal of Enlightenment.
During this time of religious celebration for all faiths, let us all reach deep into our inner selves to bring out the best in ourselves and encourage all around us to practice compassion for our fellow beings. And finally, let us all find time to express gratitude for all that we have received this past year.
Rev. Hosei Shinseki leads the Watsonville Buddhist Temple. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the Pajaronian.