Bodhi Tree

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The Bodhi Tree is known to botanists as Ficusreligiosa (holy fig), a species of fig in the Moraceae family. The leaves of the tree are somewhat unusual, being cordate in shape with a distinctive extended (or caudate) tip.The Bodhi Tree that exists today is not the exact one that shaded the Buddha’s meditation 2,500 years ago, but it may well be a direct descendent.

In the 3rd century BC, Emperor Asoka’s daughter Sanghamitta brought a branch of the Bodhi Tree to Sri Lanka and planted it in Anuradhapura, where it still grows today. According to one tradition, Asoka’s wife destroyed the original Bodhi Tree out of jealousy over the time the emperor spent there.

Other accounts have the tree destroyed in the 7th century. But most reports agree that the original tree was destroyed and replanted using a shoot from the Sri Lanka tree.

The path the Buddha walked after his enlightenment is marked by Chankramanar, the “Jewel Walk,” lined with 19 lotuses and located on the north side of the Mahabodhi Temple.

In the third week, the Buddha contemplated the Bodhi Tree from a site nearby, which is marked by the Animeschalochana Stupa

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