December 8th is the day we commemorate Shakyamuni Buddha’s realization of the Way. Following many years of difficult ascetic practice, Shakyamuni sat in zazen beneath the Bodhi tree. At dawn on December 8th, Shakyamuni saw the morning star and realizing awakening, he then became Shakyamuni Buddha. He was no longer an ordinary, common person and instead had achieved the brilliance by which to free all of humankind. We call this Jodo-e and perform a ceremony as a gesture of our gratitude to Shakyamuni Buddha.