Visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will present a sapling of the original holy Bodhi tree from Bodhgaya to His Majesty the King during a royal audience today.
It will be a special gift marking the Indian PM’s first official visit in the history of bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa) has close connections with Buddhism and Buddhists as it’s widely believed that Prince Siddhartha received enlightenment under the tree 2,600 years ago and became the Lord Buddha.
The Bodhi tree at the Mohabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya is the exact place where the Lord Buddha sat. Buddhists around the world mostly revere the Bodhi tree and in many countries worship it as sacred. Bodhi trees can be found in most Buddhist temples around Thailand.
One tale says Mahamogglayan, one of the
two foremost disciples of the Lord Buddha, took the fruit of the original Bodhi tree and planted it at Sravasti in India while Lord Buddha was alive.
During the 3rd Century BCE, King Ashoka discovered the site of Vajrasana, the seat on which Lord Buddha sat, and the Bodhi tree. The king later erected a temple to protect the holy site.
King Ashoka’s daughter Sanghamitta took a cutting of the original tree to Sri Lanka where it still grows in Anuradhapura.
The complex of the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya along with Vajrasana and the holy Bodhi tree was inscribed as a world heritage site by the Unesco World Heritage Committee in 2002.