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Jan 10, 2011

Banyan Tree: Sri Maha Bodhi Tree

Bodhi tree (Sacred Fig) in Sri Mahabodhi Temple of Sri Maha Bodhi propagated, which in turn is propagated from the original Bodhi Tree. Mahabodhi Temple is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment.

Bodhi Tree is a very big old Sacred Fig tree (Ficus religiosa), located in Bodh Gaya, about 100 km from Patna, Bihar. Under this tree the Buddha reached enlightenment or Bodhi. It is believed it will take 100 to 3,000 years to the Bodhi tree to grow fully.

The Sacred Fig or Bo-Tree is a species of banyan fig native to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina. This tree is considered sacred by followers of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The tree is well-known symbol for happiness, prosperity, longevity and good fortune. Today in India, Hindu Sadhus still meditate under the tree, and in Theravada Buddhist Southeast Asia, a large tree trunk is often the location of Buddhist temples.

 The fig tree is known by various local names in Indian languages like Pipal (also spelled as peepal, pippala peepul, etc.) in Hindi, Marathi pimpald in, assattha or rukkha in Pali, kaṇavam or Maram arasa in Tamil, Malayalam arayal in , asbattha or peepal in Bengali, raavi or arali raagi in Telugu and in Kannada.

Bodhi tree believed to be direct descendants of the original banyan tree where Buddha used to meditate. This tree is a destination for pilgrims, as this is the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage site. Other holy Bodhi tree in Buddhism's history is Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti (in today's Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh, India) and the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Both are believed to have spread from the original Bodhi tree.

According to Buddhist texts the Buddha, after his Enlightenment, spent a week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing with gratitude. A temple was subsequently established in the place where he stood.

According to the Mahavamsa, Sri Maha Bodhi in Sri Lanka are planted in 288 BC, so the oldest verified specimen of any angiosperm. Right branch of the Bodhi tree was taken by Sanghamitra, daughter of Emperor Ashoka and his Buddhist queen Devi, to Anuradhapura and placed by Devanampiyatissa in Mahāmeghavana.


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