Tripin 2020 - page 33

Besides being planted over 2300
years ago, what makes the Jaya Sri
Maha Bodhi tree so impressive is its
journey and how it is intertwined
with the story of the nation island
of Sri Lanka. This sacred fig tree
in Anuradhapura, is one of the
most important relics to Sri Lankan
Buddhists and is respected by
Buddhists all over the world. Here are
a few lessons it has taught us along
the way.
Lesson 1: Don’t forget your roots
According to legend, the tree was
grown from a sapling from the famous
Bodhi tree under which the Gautama
Buddha attained enlightenment.
It was hand-carried from India by
Mahinda, Sri Lanka’s original Buddhist
missionary, and Sangamittha Maha
Thero, King Asoka’s daughter, founder
of the order of Buddhist nuns in
Sri Lanka. It was planted by King
Devanampiya Tissa on a high terrace,
6.5 meters above the ground in the
Mahameghavana and surrounded by
railings.
Lesson 2: Teamwork
Attaining the sapling of the Sri
Maha Bodhi tree was no minor
feat. Although King Asoka was the
undisputed monarch of the North and
Middle kingdoms of India he did not
make the decision by himself. His friend
King Tisssa had requested it, his son
Arahant Mahinda had advocated it, and
his daughter Sangamittha Maha Thero
agreed to deliver it to Lanka.
Lesson 3: Respect
It goes further, due to his deep respect
for the Buddhist priesthood, he sought
the advice of his Minister Mahadeva
who agreed that King Asoka should
seek the permission of the Sangha
before taking a decision to gift a
sapling of the Maha Bodhi to Sri Lanka.
The King invited the community of
Bhikkus (monks) to discuss the issue.
According to Mahavamsa (epic poem
chronicling the origins of Sri Lanka)
the King asked the Bhikkus who had
assembled at his invitation thus,: “Shall
the great Bodhi-tree be sent to Lanka
sirs?” Arahant Moggaliputta-Tissa said,
“It shall be sent thither”.
Lesson 4: Humility
Even after the decision had been
made, King Asoka’s piety was evident.
The Mahavamsa describes the utmost
respect paid to the Bodhi tree by King
Asoka and the sadness he experienced
when parting with the Sri Maha Bodhi
sapling thus: Addressing the Sri Lankan
minister Arittha, the King proclaimed
“Three times have I worshipped the
great Bodhi-tree by (bestowing)
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