David N. Snyder wrote: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 Buddha’s 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.
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.
This thread can be the place to post your favorite photos of the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya or other Bodhi Trees from around the world or to discuss the Bodhi Tree and its significance.
A website with resources and information, including where to acquire seeds and plants:
This is a close up of the leaves of a Bodhi Tree at Daham Nikethanaya in Yuroke, Victoria, Australia.
Bodhi Trees take a fair bit of looking after to get them established at this sort of latitude, as they tend to prefer warmer climes. One of the resident bhikkhus advised me that Bodhi Tree saplings are often grown in glasshouses in order to get them established prior to planting them outside.
Structures like this help to shield them from cold winds.
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