Bodhi Trees in Thai Temples
When you first arrive in Thailand, you are immediately struck by the prevalence of Buddhist temples, known in Thai as Wats. 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. Buddha attained enlightenment whilst meditating beneath a Bodhi tree; hence the great significance of the Bodhi tree in Buddhism.
Buddha was born Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini in Nepal. As a prince, his family shielded him from the outside world and he was destined for 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 he 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.