Bodhi Trees in Thai Temples
When you first arrive in Thailand, the prevalence of Buddhist temples, known in Thai as Wats is striking. They are everywhere from the tops of mountains to tiny villages to large cities. In Chiang Mai for example, there are more than 300 Wats most of which date back to the 13th-15th centuries. And no Wat would be complete without a Bodhi tree. In fact Buddha attained enlightenment whilst meditating beneath a great Bodhi tree; hence the huge significance of Bodhi trees in Buddhism.
Buddha was born Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini in Nepal. As a prince, his family shielded him from the outside world in their desire to provide him with a good life. However, after stealing away from the royal palace and encountering the suffering of people outside, he chose a different path. He left the palace for good to seek the wisdom of teachers trained in meditation and control of the mind.
Linking the Bodhi Tree with "Enlightenment"
After six years of wandering Prince Siddhartha came to a place in India called Bodhgaya, where he sat down beneath a sacred fig tree and meditated. It was there that he realized enlightenment, a state of total awareness and bliss in which suffering is vanquished. Consequently he became Buddha, (Buddha means "the awakened one" and the sacred fig tree was known ever after as the Bodhi Tree (bodhi means "awakened").
Theme of This Post
This collection of photos taken in various Wats in Chiang Mai, shows some of the depictions of Buddha sitting beneath a Bhodi tree.