Concern over delayed sprouting of sacred Buddhist Bodhi tree
Jose Kalathil, Taiwan News, 2017/04/27
Concerns that Mahabodhi tree, the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site, has yet to sprout new leaves.
NEW DELHI (Taiwan News) --The legendary Mahabodhi tree, the Sacred Fig (Ficus religiosa) at Bodh Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar, the most important of the four Buddhist pilgrimage sites, is fast drying up causing concern to many.
According to Buddhist texts, Lord Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating under it without moving from his seat for seven days.
The spot was a center of pilgrimage even during his lifetime. King Ashoka held a festival every year here. The present tree is believed to be the descendant of the one planted in 288 BC.
The other trees significant to Buddhism are the Anandabodhi tree tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
According to the Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee (BTMC) caretaker, it is quite common for the tree to shed leaves in autumn, but, what worries BTMC is that unlike other trees, which have sprouted new leaves, this Mahabodhi tree is yet to show regeneration.
The sudden shedding of its leaves and unusual delay in sprouting new leaves prompted BTMC secretary N Dorjee to discuss the issue with scientists who had helped revive the tree three years back. The tree had then gone for a treatment under their guidance.
As per BTMC sources, when scientists visited Bodh Gaya three months ago, they had found the tree in "good health" with no sign of decay.
The Bodhi peepal tree is a center of veneration for Buddhists all over the world and its dried leaves are picked up by devotees and preserved with reverence.
Senior BTMC member Arvind Kumar Singh attributed the phenomenon to the unusual weather conditions, with the temperature crossing an unprecedented 40 degree Celsius in March itself.