bodhi tree

Bodhi Tree | Intro, Symbolism & History

In this article, we have explored the history as well as the mythology and significance of the Bodhi Tree, and also shed light on an understanding of its enduring influence on spiritual seekers over many centuries. So kindly stay tuned with us until the very end.

Around 2500 years ago, an aspiring royal prince named Siddhartha Gautama embarked on a spiritual journey. He had lived his early life like a typical king, getting all the luxury things he could desire. At the age of 29, as per legend, he was jolted out of his idleness by the “Four Signs”: he saw in succession an old man, a sick person, a corpse being carried to cremation, and a monk in meditation beneath a tree. So, by seeing the plight of suffering, like poverty, sickness, and death, he renounced his lavish life and began his quest to find the truth. 

By following the Santan Dharma, Siddhartha interacted with spiritual teachers, sat in meditation on yoga and self-discipline as well as deeply delved into the ascetic way. However, he was unable to achieve the highest level of wisdom until he was seated under the shade of a tree in the peace of nature, under the Banyan, now known as the Bodhi tree, where he experienced a profound awakening, a release from the cycle of rebirth and suffering.

“Here on this seat, my body may shrivel up, my skin, my bones, my flesh may dissolve, but my body will not move from this seat until I have attained Enlightenment, so difficult to obtain in the course of great periods of time.”

Bodhi Tree: A Brief Introduction

Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi Tree is an emblem of a profound and spiritual awakening loved by millions of people around the globe. Its significance goes beyond the boundaries of religion as it represents a universal quest for inner peace and enlightenment.

Bodhi Tree: History

The Bodhi tree, also referred to by the scientific name of Ficus religiosa, occupies the most  important place of worship in Buddhism as it marks the exact place where Siddhartha Gautama ascended to spiritual awakening over 2,500 years ago. The Bodhi Tree, or fig tree, situated in Bodh Gaya, India, is living proof of the potential of a great spiritual awakening.

Legend of Buddha Enlightenment

Bodhi Tree

According to Buddhist scriptures, Siddhartha Gautama was the first historical Buddha who began an intense spiritual journey. After years of consistent discipline and meditation in his practice, he opted to meditate under the Bodhi Tree. It was here, in the quiet and the natural world,he achieved a great awakening that released him from rebirth and suffering.

Symbolism and Religious Significance

The Bodhi Tree carries a significant symbolic weight. The broad, outstretched branches offer shelter and comfort and symbolize the loving acceptance of spiritual understanding. Every leaf is a testimony to the interdependence between all living creatures and reflects the interconnectedness of all life in Buddhist philosophy.

A Religious Journey and Sacred Devotion

For fervent Buddhists, making a trip towards the Bodhi Tree is considered to be a sacred trip. There is a belief that proximity to this renowned tree can help you develop a greater spiritual connection to the doctrines of the Buddha. Pilgrims from around the world gather here to pray, sit in meditation, and seek the path to enlightenment.

Influence of the Bodhi Tree on Culture and Beyond

The impact of the Bodhi Tree goes beyond Buddhism. People of all beliefs and philosophical views have embraced the message of inner peace. It is an effective reminder of the universality of the human search for spiritual development and self-realization.

Preservation Efforts and Conservation

Due to its importance both spiritually and historically, conservation efforts for this Bodhi Tree are of paramount importance. Conservation efforts, backed by local communities as well as international organizations, strive to ensure the longevity and health of this tree’s history for the generations to come.

The Bodhi Tree in Today’s Context

Bodhi Tree

In our fast-paced, ever-changing world, The Wisdom from the Bodhi Tree is as applicable as ever. The lessons it imparts about compassion, mindfulness, and the search for inner peace provide comfort and direction to those who are navigating the challenges of modern life.

The Bodhi Tree has become a site of pilgrimage for many people all over the world. It is flooded daily with tourists, visitors as well as monks, seekers and pilgrims. You will often see people sitting in peace and reading or meditating.

Every year, on the 8th of December, Buddhist followers across the world observe Bodhi Day as an occasion to celebrate Buddha’s enlightenment beneath the Bodhi tree.According to texts from the past, followers of Buddhism carried branches from the first Bodhi Tree to different parts of the globe. The trees were planted in different countries, including Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Australia, and more.

There is a belief that every Bodhi Tree found in the world has a direct descendant from the tree under which the Buddha was meditating. The present Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya is most likely the fifth lineage of the original tree.


The significance of  the Bodhi Tree goes beyond Buddhism since its message of awakening and peace within has been received by people of different religious beliefs and backgrounds.

The Bodhi Tree root has a deep connection to the earth, demonstrating the importance of living in tune with the natural world. It serves as a humbling reminder that spirituality is not separated from nature but more of an interconnected element.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the symbolism behind the Buddhist tree?

The Bodhi Tree has become a significant symbol of Buddhism because of its significance in the epic of the Buddha’s journey to a Great Awakening or to a complete happiness and peace discovered in Nirvana or the higher real world. It symbolizes the ability of every person to follow the footsteps of the Buddha to attain the state of enlightenment.

Who was the first to name the Bodhi tree?  

After attempting to approach but getting declined by a mango tree, the Buddha picked up to go with the fig tree (Ficus religiosa). The fig tree is now known as the bodhi tree due to the fact that the Buddha achieved the state of enlightenment (bodhi) by meditating under one of these trees for 49 days.

What are the alternative names for the Bodhi tree?  

Literally, the ‘ tree of a great awakening’ is also known as the Bo Tree. Bo Tree is the tree that Siddhartha Gautama is believed to have attained the state of enlightenment (Maha bodhi) by meditating beneath it for 49 continuous days. In Pali, the language is known as the bodhirukkha as well as in Sanskrit as the bodhivrksa and ficus religiosa botanically.

Thank You Buddha!

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