Bodhi Day (Rohatsu)

by Bob Schwartz

Bodhi Day, marking the Buddha’s enlightenment, is known as Rohatsu in Japan and is celebrated there on December 8. A week ago. My apologies for the delay to the Buddha, to Buddhists in Japan and elsewhere, and to anyone who might benefit from a gentle reminder to be awake.

IT IS SAID that soon after his enlightenment the Buddha passed a man on the road who was struck by the Buddha’s extraordinary radiance and peaceful presence. The man stopped and asked, “My friend, what are you? Are you a celestial being or a god?”

“No,” said the Buddha.

“Well, then, are you some kind of magician or wizard?” Again the Buddha answered, “No.”

“Are you a man?”


“Well, my friend, then what are you?” The Buddha replied, “I am awake.”