In the Zen school, Rohatsu – the anniversary of the Buddha’s Enlightenment – is traditionally celebrated on 8th December by meditating through the night to the dawn.

The Great Resolve

It is said that the Buddha sat down beneath the Bodhi tree and made the great resolve, “Though only my bones and sinews remain and my skin and flesh wither away, I will not leave this place until I realise complete enlightenment”. He practiced through the night.

In the Denkoroku (The Transmission of the Light) Zen Master Keizan picks up the story: “Shakyamuni Buddha realized enlightenment on seeing the morning star. He said, “I and all beings on earth together realize enlightenment simultaneously.” ” After this great realisation, he spent the forty years of the rest of his life helping others to find what he’d found. This is the essence of Zen – to find the happiness that doesn’t depend on external conditions and to be a useful person in the world.

At Zen Yoga Camberwell, London, we celebrate the anniversary of the Buddha’s enlightenment with all-night zazen meditation from December 7th-8th, 9pm-8am. This night of intense, focused practice is beneficial to both experienced Zen practitioners and beginners. We usually end this night of practice with a shared breakfast.

Information about booking for our Rohatsu event is usually sent out by e-mail in the Autumn time each year. See our list of upcoming Zen practice events here.