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Bodhi Day, traditionally the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, has
been observed on December 8 in Japan since the Meiji Restoration
(1862-1869). It is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day
that Gautama is believed to have experienced enlightenment, also
known as Bodhi in Sanskrit or Pali. According to tradition,
Siddhartha had recently forsaken years of extreme ascetic practices
and resolved to sit under a Pipul tree and simply meditate until he
found the root of suffering, and how to liberate one's self from
it. Traditions vary on what happened. Some say he made a great vow
to nirvana and Earth to find the root of suffering, or die trying.
In other traditions, while meditating he was harassed and tempted
by the god Mara (literally, "Destroyer" in Sanskrit), demon of
illusion. Other traditions simply state that he entered deeper and
deeper states of meditation, confronting the nature of the self.
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