Buddhism beliefs

Worship a Bodhi Tree Devoid of False Beliefs | Print edition

By Udumbara Udugama

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Rituals associated with Bodhi pooja

Esala Full Moon Poya falls on July 23 of this year. Many important events took place on an Esala Poya, according to Buddhist history.

Prince Siddhartha left his secular life and set out as an ascetic in search of the Truth. Prince Rahula, her son was born on this day.

It was on an Esala Poya that the Buddha arrived at the deer park, Varanasi to deliver the first sermon, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta to the five ascetics. This sutta explains the Four Noble Truths (chaturarya satya) and the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya Atthangika Magga) – the basis of the teachings of the Buddha.

After three months of Buddha parinibbana (deceased), the first sangayanava, convocation of the monks, was convened during an Esala Poya.

Many important events also took place in Sri Lanka on Esala Poya.

King Dutugemunu laid the foundation stone for the Ruwanweli Mahaseya in Anuradhapura. Fri. Upali Maha Thera of Siam (Thailand) was invited by King Kirti Sri Rajasinha and upasampada (higher ordination of monks) was revived at Malwatu Maha Viharaya and Asgiriya Maha Viharaya in Kandy on an Esala Poya.

La Vassana, the rainy retreat for the monks also begins every year the day after Esala Poya

In Bodhgaya, Bihar in India on the banks of the Neranjana River, Prince Siddhartha, the Bodhisattva seated under a Bo tree (Ficus religiosa or Peepal) in deep meditation, attained Supreme Enlightenment (Bodhi) and became the Buddha. The tree he sat under symbolizes wisdom and has become the Bodhi tree.

A sapling of this Bodhi tree brought to Lanka by Ven. Sanghamitta, daughter of Emperor Ashoka and planted in Anuradhapura is considered to be the oldest planted tree in the world.

The original Bodhi tree is said to have been destroyed on several occasions, first by Tishyaraksha, queen of Emperor Ashoka, as she did not want Ashoka to embrace Buddhism. Although King Pushpiyamitra tried to destroy the tree, he was unsuccessful. The current Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya is a descendant of the original.

It is a very old tradition to believe that the Devas who live on the trees will help you if you worship them. Perhaps this is the reason why devotees revere the Bodhi tree by asking for various favors. But according to the Dhamma, the Devas will only protect you if you follow the five precepts and lead a virtuous life with them. dana, sila, bhavana.

In the sakkanamassana sutta, it is said that Sakkra Deva before leaving on the trip was seen worshiping in different directions. Matali, his charioteer asked the Sakkra Deva, “My Lord, the Sathriyo, Sataravaram Deviyo and many other devas of the higher realms revere you. What kind of beings do you worship in this way?“Sakkra Deva replied,”Yes Matali, they all adore me. I adore those who observe the high sila, practice the dhamma and virtuous monks. I also adore the lay faithful who give for charity, care for and protect their families, who live their lives with high moral standards.. “Then Matali said:”whoever you adore, they are really great. I too will adore them like you. “(Samyutta Nikaya 11.2.8 Sakkanamassana Sutta).

Why do people worship the Bodhi tree? Most do this without understanding the real meaning of Bodhi worship. If done with the right understanding, it’s good for personal development and peace of mind. Approaching a Bodhi tree, one can experience a calm and peaceful environment to sit and meditate.

Why perform Bodhi pooja? Every human being and even animals live with feelings of insecurity.

Bahum ve saranan yanti,

pabbatani vanaani ca


manussa bhayatajjita

Dhammapada -188

(People driven by fear take refuge in many places – in hills, woods, groves, trees and shrines).
There are fears such as loss of income, loss of loved ones, not getting what you want, illness and death. Buddha explained them as dukkha. People try to overcome them by seeking the intervention of various supernatural powers, in search of a quick cure. Buddha has shown us a path to follow, to end suffering in a wise and realistic way, the chaturarya satya (Four Noble Truths) and the arya atthangika magga (Chemin Noble eight times). we sing “Budddhan saranan gachchami, dhamman saranan gachchami, sangan saranan gachchami – (we promise to understand the Buddha Dhamma and to practice the Dhamma according to the teachings of the Buddha and transmitted by the Sangha).

“I will not seek any other refuge than Buddha Dhamma and Sangha. May these words of truth be a blessing to me.

These stanzas mean that we will follow the teaching of the Buddha without falling into mithya drushti (false beliefs). In Buddhism, there are no superpowers that make our wishes come true. We see people carrying pots of water and going around the Bodhi tree repeating stanzas and pouring water or milk on the tree. Flags, sometimes with names and wishes written on them, as well as pieces of cloth coins are attached to the branches. These actions will destroy the tree. Repeating stanzas aloud disturbs other devotees. When we are in a religious place, we must control the Kaya and vachanaya (body and words).

How can we perform kusal kamma (good deeds) near the Bodhi tree? Clean the area near the tree, sit in a comfortable position, observe pansil (five precepts) and start your meditation on Buduguna bhavana, by imagining the Buddha sitting under the Bo tree. Then meditate on metta bhavana (loving kindness) radiating your metta to all living things.

Buddha did not ask the tree for any favors. He sat in meditation, facing the Bodhi tree for seven days in animisalochana pooja, in gratitude for giving him shelter until he attained Enlightenment.

Buddha’s teachings are about our inner transformation, the development of purity of mind, and not having any attachment to the outside world if one wishes to end this samsaric life.

By following the teaching of the Buddha, may you understand the true nature of life (yatharthaya) and do not follow mithya drushti (false beliefs). May you progress with this wisdom to become happy and peaceful until you reach the eternal happiness of Nibbana.