Today is Bodhi Day, also known as Enlightenment Day because it’s the day that Lord Buddha achieved enlightenment. When Lord Buddha was born as the son of a king in India, he was given the name Siddhartha Gautama. But when he was nearly 30, he left all of his material luxuries behind and went into the forest in search of answers to the problems of suffering, after seeing how much of it there was. For years of intense practice and meditation, he sought enlightenment, also known as bodhi.
[caption id="attachment_1471" align="alignright" width="400"] Mahabodhi temple, Boghgaya.[/caption] It was in northeastern India, in Bodh Gaya, while meditating continuously under a banyan fig tree for 49 days that he achieved enlightenment at the age of 35, and became known as the enlightened one – Buddha. According to the scriptures, after his enlightenment, Lord Buddha spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude. That tree is now called the “Sri Mahabodhi tree” and a holy shrine was built nearby.
Many Buddhists celebrate this day by acts of kindness to other beings while others celebrate with a traditional meal of tea, cakes and readings. They kindly greet one another with the words: “Budu saranai” and "May the peace of the Buddha be yours.”