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Bodhi Tree

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According to Buddhist legend, the Bodhi Tree the tree under which the seated Buddha-to-be resolved to find Truth.

Apparently the future Buddha was first pursued by demons and then received what he believed were heavenly visions.

Rejecting both as temporary and unreal, he attained Nirvana, which for him and his followers is the ultimate, true and unchanging reality.

The term Bodhi Tree also refers to a number of trees that Buddists believe are descendents from the original Bodhi Tree. Wikipedia explains:

The Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi Temple is called the Sri Maha Bodhi. According to Buddhist texts the Buddha, after his Enlightenment, spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude.¹

pipal.jpg

Distinctive heart shaped leaf of the Bodhi Tree – via Wikipedia

Buddhists preach about non-detachment and anatman (no-self) and yet, like adherents of most other religions, tend to venerate a whole series of ritualistic objects, from this kind of tree to well-kept rock gardens. In fact, one could argue that some Buddhist monasteries – not unlike some Christian monasteries – appear more like well-funded middle class havens instead of a place where any kind of real letting go of worldly things occurs.

That would be fine if admitted as such. But the sanctimonious preaching about renunciation that often comes from these places sometimes seems facile and, perhaps, a touch hypocritical.

¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhi_Tree

Related Posts » Buddhism

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