Last weekend, I watched Little Buddha with my EunBong and Fina. Some of the most remarkable scenes were of Sidhartha sitting beneath the Bodhi tree before his enlightenment.
After the movie, EunBong asked if the Bodhi tree he sat under, the Sri Maha Bodhi, was still alive. Depending on how you look at it, both “yes” and “no” could be correct answers.
During the 3rd Century BC, the wife of the great Buddhist emperor, Ashoka, out of jealousy, killed the Sri Maha Bodhi by piercing it with poisonous mandu thorns. So, if you want to be very technical about it, the Sri Maha Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi Temple, is not the same tree.
However, I prefer to look at it from another point of view. Before the tree was killed, a sapling was taken by Ashoka’s daughter to Sri Lanka, where it still stands today, and a clipping from that tree was brought back to the temple and planted in the spot of its elder. So, it may be stretching it a little, but, in a sense, it is still the same tree.
One of the things I like about believing it is still the same tree, other than a sense of connection to the Buddha one has while sitting under it, is to think of each tree, each plant, each animal, every being, and how we all directly came from a physical piece of those before us, stretching all the way back to the beginning. That’s only accounting for the physical half of things, of course, but it still fills me with an overwhelming connection to everything!