The Bodhi Tree is a symbol in Buddhism. It is so called because it was under such a tree that Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha of this age. By legend it was a fig tree (ficus religiosa), known for its heart-shaped leaves. In modern Bodh Gaya, India, a tree at the Mahabodhi Temple is revered as the Bodhi Tree, though the exact spot where a tree stood in Buddha’s day is not known with precision. The original tree was destroyed in the seventh century, but the current tree is a scion of a scion of the original tree which was sent by Asoka to Sri Lanka. For the pilgrims, it does not matter, because the act of reverence is sanctifying beyond the literal aspects of history.
- Fischer-Schreiber, I., Ehrhard, F.-K., & Diener, M. S. (1991). The Shambhala dictionary of Buddhism and Zen (trans: Kohn, M.H.). Boston: Shambala.Google Scholar