Bodhi Tree Symbolism

bodhi tree symbolism. Image borrowed from Alexander Education (click picture to go to that website)



Tree Symbolism and Meaning of the Bodhi

The bodhi tree was symbolic of "awake-ness" long before Prince Siddartha Gautama entered the opening of enlightenment beneath its leaves in 528 B.C..

Indeed, the name bodhi or (also known as bo) means "awakening." Even the scientific world recognizes the spiritual associations with this tree as its botanical name, ficus religiosa, means "religious fig."

The bodhi tree is sacred in India, and venerated in Bodhgaya where it is said the descendant of the original tree where the Buddha experienced spiritual awakening still grows.

Even before the Buddha's spiritual expansion sparked the revolutionary religious teachings of Buddhism, the bodhi tree symbolism was associated with Vishnu, a major archetypal Hindu god. Vishnu is the sustainer of the universe and part of the holy trinity with Brahma and Shiva completing the divine triad.

Ancient Indian art depicts Vishnu nestled amongst the delicate leaves of the bodhi, peering out through the universe with his infinite spiritual vision. It makes me wonder if the bodhi was a source of energy for Vishnu.

Looking at the bodhi, it wouldn't be an unreasonable assumption. It exhudes a high, bright, fine energy. It speaks of playfulness and thoughtfulness. Its leaves are lively and just as the ancient Celts utilized the dance of the aspen as an augury, I'm quite sure Buddist monks can interpret the sign language of the lilting bodhi leaves.

Additionally, the bodhi moves its body in wild rhythmic contortions, forming organic twists that curl up in our imaginations. When we look upon it with childlike eyes we can see whirling clouds, dancing maidens, and beautifully wrinkled faces of old sages laughing in the bodhi bark.

Furthering it's honorable status, the tender bodhi leaves provides nourishment to elephants, a sacred animal to India.

Silkworms are also considered very auspicious and they too enjoy the fruits of the bodhi.

Symbolic Meaning of the Bodhi Tree

  • Joy
  • Play
  • Luck
  • Light
  • Calm
  • Hope
  • Peace
  • Charm
  • Patience
  • Laughter
  • Softness
  • Brilliance
  • Patience
  • Endurance
  • Awakening
  • Longevity
  • Innocense
  • Tranquility
  • Preservation
  • Sustainment
  • Enlightenment

Video on the Ananda Bodhi Tree at Jetavana Monestary

I hope you have enjoyed this page on the symbolic bodhi tree meaning. Please continue your adventure into the realm of symbolic tree meaning by clicking the links at the end of this page.




click links below for symbolic meanings.
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