Sunday, December 11, 2022

Bodhi Tree descendant joins my garden

The Bodhi Tree ("tree of awakening") is a large sacred fig tree located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India.  Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher who became known as the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment or Bodhi under it.  In religious images, the Bodhi Tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed

In 1913, Anagarika Dharmapala took a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi to Hawaii, where he presented it to his benefactor, Mary Foster, who had funded much Buddhist missionary work. She planted it in the grounds of her house in Honolulu, by the Nuʻuanu stream. On her death, she left her house and its grounds to the people of Honolulu, and it became the Foster Botanical Garden.

A cutting from this tree was raised by a member of the Soto Zen Temple in Aiea, Hawaii.  Today, in celebration of Bodhi Day, this descendant tree joined my garden as a meaningful addition.  

Bodhi Day is generally seen as a religious holiday, much like Christmas in the Christian west, in which special meals are served, especially cookies shaped like hearts (referencing the heart-shaped leaves of the Bodhi) and a meal of kheer, the Buddha's first meal ending his six-year asceticism.

photo: bruce behnke 2022