The Significance of the Bodhi Tree 菩提树的寓意

 

The Bodhi Tree

In the Kalingabodhi Jataka, the Buddha taught that,

“An object of reverence reminiscent of the Buddha has no physical basis; it is purely mental. But the great Bodhi tree, used by the Buddha, whether He is alive or dead, is an object of reverence.”

After his Enlightenment, in a show of profound gratitude to the Bodhi tree that sheltered him, the Buddha stood at a distance and gazed at the tree with unblinking eyes for one whole week.

In order for people to pay their respects to him while he was away on preaching tours, the Buddha also sanctioned the planting of a seed from the original Bodhi tree in front of his monastery. In this way, it would be as if he was ever-present.

One of the Bodhi trees in KMSPKS is a scion of the sacred Bodhi tree at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka and is hence a direct descendant of the original Bodhi tree under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment. It is customary for Buddhists to pay respect to the descendants of the original Bodhi tree.

 

“菩提”一词为古印度语(即梵文 )Bodhi 的音译,意思是觉悟、智慧,用以指人如梦初醒,顿悟真理,达到超凡脱俗的境界。佛陀是在此树下“成正觉”,此树便被称为菩提树

2500多年前,释迦牟尼佛当初是古印度北部的迦毗罗卫王国的年青王子乔答摩•悉达多。他为了摆脱生老病死轮回之苦,解救受苦受难的众生,毅然放弃继承王位和舒适的王族生活,出家修行,去寻求人生的真谛。经过多年的修行与苦思,终于在菩提树下,战胜了各种邪恶诱惑,在天将拂晓,启明星升起的时候,终于获得大彻大悟,悟道成佛。此后,菩提树被佛教界公认为“大彻大悟”的象征。

随着佛教传入汉地,菩提树在中国也有深远的影响。唐朝初年,僧人神秀与其师兄慧能对话,写下诗句:

“身是菩提树,心如明镜台,时时勤拂拭,莫使惹尘埃。”

慧能看后回写了一首:

“菩提本无树,明镜亦非台,本来无一物,何处惹尘埃。”