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Bodhi tree

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Bodhi, a Pāḷi word meaning ‘awaken,’ is the name given to the particular tree growing at Bodh Gayā which The Buddha was sitting under when he became Enlightened.

This Bodhi Tree was a variety of fig known to botanists as Ficus religiosa and which has large spreading branches and rounded leaves with a characteristic pointed tip.

In the several accounts of The Buddhas Enlightenment in the Tipiṭaka, the Bodhi Tree is only mentioned twice (D,II,4 and Ud.1, repeated at Vin.I,1-7). Tradition says that after his Enlightenment, The Buddha stood for seven days gazing at the Bodhi Tree out of Gratitude for the shelter it had given him (Ja.I,77), and modern Buddhists still revere this species of tree for the same reason.


Bodhi tree 菩提樹 (Skt, Pali; Jpn bodai-ju)


Also, bo tree. The pipal tree (also spelled the peepul tree) at Buddhagaya, India, under which Shakyamuni Buddha attained Enlightenment.

In Sanskrit this variety of tree was called pippala or ashvattha.

It is a tall evergreen belonging to the mulberry family that reaches thirty meters in height.

Its leaves are Heart-shaped with an elongated, pointed end.

Because Shakyamuni attained Enlightenment under this tree, Buddhists came to regard it as sacred and refer to it as the Bodhi (Enlightenment) tree.

In early Buddhist sculptures, the Bodhi tree was used in carvings depicting the events of Shakyamuni Buddha's Life to symbolize Shakyamuni and his Enlightenment.

At that time, no representation of The Buddha himself was made in the carvings.

The Buddha was depicted symbolically as the Bodhi tree, and his teachings as the Wheel of the Law.

The present Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gayā was planted in 1880 and is distantly related to the original one.

Bodhi trees are sometimes mistakenly called banyans although the banyan is a different species of tree altogether.


The Bodhi Trees of the 28 Buddhas

The Pali Canon records some biographical information of the current Buddha, along with the previous Buddhas in known history.

Each Buddha attained enlightenment sitting under a tree.

All of the trees are considered Bodhi Trees but they were not all the same species of tree.

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No. Name of Buddha Bodhi Tree Scientific name
1 Tanhankara unknown unknown
2 Medhankara unknown unknown
3 Saranankara unknown unknown
4 Dipankara Pipphali tree Ficus Obtrusfolis
5 Kondanna Salakalyan tree Orxylum Indicum
6 Mangala Naga tree Mesus Ferrea Lin
7 Sumana Naga tree Mesus Ferrea Lin
8 Revata Naga tree Mesus Ferrea Lin
9 Sobhita Naga tree Mesus Ferrea Lin
10 Anomadassi Ajjuna tree Termina Arjuna
11 Paduma Maha-sona tree Oryxylum Indicarum
12 Narada Maha-sona tree Oryxylum Indicarum
13 Padumuttara Salala tree Pinus Longiflis
14 Sumedha Maha-nipa tree Nauclea Cadamba
15 Sujata Maha-velu tree Bambusa Arundinacea
16 Piyadassi Kakudha tree Crataeva Hygrophyla
17 Atthadassi Campaka tree Michelia Champaka
18 Dhammadassi Bimbijala tree Pavetta Indica
19 Siddhattha Kanikara tree Pterospemum Acerifolium
20 Tissa Asana tree Pentaptera Tomentosa
21 Phussa Amalaka tree Phyllanthus Emblica
22 Vipassi Patali tree Bigonia Suaveolens
23 Sikhi Pundarika tree Mangifera indica
24 Vessabhu Maha-sala tree Shorea Robusta
25 Kakusandha Sirisa tree Acacia Sirissa
26 Konagamana Udaumbara tree Ficus Glomerata
27 Kassapa Bayan tree Nigrodha
28 Gotama Pipphali tree Ficus Religiosa


Bodhi tree: Also, Bo Tree. Tree beneath which the meditating Gautama sat before he achieved enlightenment.

According to tradition this was an Asvattha tree, though there is no historical evidence to support this belief.

It is widely believed to have been a Pipal tree, ficus religiosa, a large deciduous tree found in uplands and plains of India and Southeast Asia.

To this day, Buddhists make rosaries (malas) from the seed and plant the tree outside of temples.

Even the leaf is revered and sometimes carried as a charm.

The fruit contains serotonin and may have been used as an entheogen, although it is currently revered but rarely consumed.

Although a tropical tree, it can thrive as a houseplant, and is easy to grow as other ficus species.

This fast growing tree usually begins as an epiphyte (air plant, grows on trees) but develops roots to support its height of 90-plus feet.

Has purple figs, red flowers, and is different from other species, because of its slender, long leaf tip. See Pipal.

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