Traditions vary on what happened. Some say he made a great vow to Heaven and Earth to find the root of suffering, or die trying. In other traditions, while meditating he was harassed and tempted by the Hindu god Mara, Lord of Illusion. Other traditions simply state that he entered deeper and deeper states of meditation, confronting the nature of the self.
Regardless, all traditions agree that as the Morning Star rose in the sky in the early morning, Siddhartha finally found the answers he sought and became Enlightened, and experienced Nirvana. Having done so, Siddhartha now became a Buddha or "Awakened One".
Bodhi Day is not as popularly celebrated as Wesak Day, the Birth of the Buddha, however, it is still observed in many mainstream Mahayana traditions including Zen and Shin Buddhist schools. In Zen it is also known as Rohatsu.
Like many Buddhist holidays, traditions and observances surrounding Bodhi Day vary depending on the culture in question, but Bodhi is widely seen as a reminder to Buddhists that with the right effort and understanding any person can become Enlightened.
Days of the Season; A glimpse at various holiday celebrations; BODHI DAY.(VARIETY)(SERIES: Days OF THE Season)
Dec 08, 2001; Byline: Kay Miller; Staff Writer RSEC: + BODHI DAY December 8 Today, Buddhists worldwide celebrate "Bodhi Day," the anniversary...