In the Buddhist religion, the Bodhi Tree is symbolizing Buddha’s enlightenment and therefore a bodhi tree tattoo is a very spiritual design that acts as a reminder of the greatest potential that lies waiting to be brought to fruition in all. It translates roughly from the Sanskrit language, to mine wide awake.
The mythical Bodhi tree is sacred to Buddhists and is also referred to as the ‘World Tree.’ While its roots are laid deep within the earth, its branches stretch upward supporting the heavens above so it is literally the ‘tree of life’. In reality, Buddha achieved enlightenment under an Asian fig tree, which was also known as Ficus religiosa, and even the name suggests a highly spiritual emblem.
Over 2500 years ago, Prince Siddhartha Gautama was believed to live on India’s northern plains but turned his back on his life of privilege and wealth, abandoned his wife and child and began his search for enlightenment. He fruitlessly wandered the countryside seeking answers to eternal questions but to no avail until finally he grew tired of his austere existence and opted to sit still instead. In fact, he sat in complete stillness meditating under the Bodhi tree until he finally ‘woke up’ and realized the true nature of existence and suffering.
The rest of the story has become a mix of legend and history but as a result, the birth of a religion based on compassion began that day and is still thriving in modern times. This special tree is also sacred due to its ancient origins, and it is believed that a descendant of the original still grows in that spot to this day. Buddhist centers around the world also have their own version of the tree, and some are even considered to be offshoots from the famous Bodhi that Buddha once sat under.
This has always been a popular symbol in India, so there was no great leap of faith required for most to relate to its highly sacred status. King Ashoka of India helped boost its reputation in the third century BC by converting to the Buddhist religion. Not only that, but he spent hours meditating under the original tree just like Buddha many centuries before him. However, his Queen did not like playing second best to this time-consuming pastime and ordered that the tree is chopped down. This attempt to retain Ashoka’s did not entirely work as Ashoka spent his time nourishing what was left of the stump and its roots with milk which revived the tree until it was eventually restored to its full growth once again.
In addition, the King’s daughter also converted to Buddhism and as a nun, she took a cutting to her monastery garden in Sri Lanka. She transplanted the cutting which also grew into a Bodhi where it still stands to this day and actually the oldest tree in the world on record.
There is no doubt that Prince Siddhartha Gautama had no intention of starting a worldwide religious movement in his search for enlightenment however the dogma and prayers that started all those centuries ago under the Bodhi tree did just that. One thing he was sure of was that everything he learned should be used to guide others.
In fact, the wisdom he gained from his experiences has certainly helped countless others throughout the ages. This gift to the world is personified in a powerful bodhi tree tattoo, the ultimate symbol of how we can rise above suffering and triumphantly reach a state of Nirvana through ultimate wisdom.
Bodhi Tree Tattoo
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