Bodhi Tree (Ficus Religiosa)
I’ll tell you it was a delight to see my small Bodhi tree come alive again after it dropped all the leaves… I was combating some kind of pest that ate the new shoots. But now when I see its vigor day by day I am rejoicing. A plant is like ourselves it must have nurturing and the circumstances to live healthily.
The Bodhi tree is known for its connection with the Buddha, who was sitting under a Bodhi Tree (the historic Pipal Tree) as he attained his enlightenment.This was 2500 years ago. To this day you can find this tree near Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, India.
My small Bodhi Tree is maybe 12 years old by now, and my enlightenment may take a little while longer a am afraid. For me the Bodhi Tree is significant, as a reminder that I have to take care of what I put out in the world. Bodhi Trees grow enormous with a very wide trunk… My tree is confined in a pot, and only brought outside in the summer. So challenging for him, as his natural habitat is in a much warmer country.
I am tracking my progress by watching my Bodhi tree grow. Especially relating to finding freedom, like the Buddha did. Could I practice patience better? By doing that perhaps at some point I have resolved all inner conflicting emotions and clinging to anything in the world.
“The branches reach towards the heaven yet the vines of the tree reach towards the earth. Such is the state of mankind – always being pulled in two directions. One direction is freedom, ultimate liberation, and the transcendence of boundaries. The other direction is security, rootedness, comfort, and tradition – the self that will not turn away from the earth.” (This quote is from Bodhi Tree Yoga Center.)
How wise to contemplate it thus. I feel the pull of freedom and of constraint in the physical world. The bills, the demands… and on the other hand leaping out into infinity. My Bodhi Tree lost all its leaves during my month absence to see my family oversees. As I came home he looked dead as a doorknob and covered with the pesky spider webs of the culprit insect. I found that only by daily inspection and removal of their nets could my tree survive, and here is the result. So the answer is mundane, very mundane…all is enlightenment.