Sacred Bodhi Tree Enhances Vietnam-Sri Lanka Ties
|At the event. Photo: VNA|
A sapling marcotted from a 2,300-year-old Bodhi tree (also known as sacred fig with the scientific name of Ficus religiosa), the oldest of its species in the world, has been planted at the Bai Dinh pagoda in the northern province of Ninh Binh, VNA reported.
The tree, named Sri Maha Bodhiya, stands in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It was said to be propagated from the famous Bodhi tree under which Siddhartha Gautama the Lord Buddha was sitting when he gained enlightenment.
It was brought to Sri Lanka by the Theri Sangamitta, daughter of Emperor Asoka and was planted in the Mahameghavana Park in Anuradhapura in 249 BC by King Devanampiyatissa.
The Buddhists believe that the bodhi tree is endowed with many magical powers which no other tree in the world possesses. It derives its magic from its associations with the life of the Buddha. In contagious magic, an object that has any physical link with a being is as powerful as the being himself.
With permissions from the Sri Lankan Government and the local pagoda housing the sacred fig and support from the South Asian country’s embassy in Vietnam, the sapling was planted in Bai Dinh at a ceremony on March 25.
|The Bodhi sapling is planted in the Bodhi garden in front of the Bai Dinh Pagoda's Tam The Palace. Photo: VNA|
The ceremony followed a pilgrimage starting March 21 by monks and Buddhist followers from the Vietnamese pagoda to Sri Lanka to bring the sapling back to Vietnam.
Accordingly, a large delegation consisting of over 35 Buddhist monks and officials including the Chief Abbot Thich Minh Quang and Chairman of the Bai Dinh Pagoda Nguyen Van Truong would be travelling to Sri Lanka on the fourth week of March, 2023 to bring the most sacred Sapling of Saya Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Anuradapura.
Once the delegation from Bai Dinh Pagoda visit Anuradapura, the delegation called on the Head Priest of Ruwanvalsaya, Most Venerable Pallegama Hemarathana Thero and other Most Venerable Priests including Most Venerable Eetalawetunawewa Gnanathilaka Thero.
The delegation travelled back to Vietnam with the Head Priest of Ruwanvalsaya, Most Venerable Pallegama Hemarathana Thero and Most Venerable Eetalawetunawewa Gnanathilaka Thero to ceremoniously plant the most sacred Sapling of Sri Maha Bodhi Tree at the Bai Dinh Pagoda.
The Bai Dinh pagoda is part of the local Trang An Landscape Complex that was recognised as a World Cultural And Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is a temple with massive, monumental architecture and bold traditional cultural identity, considered a famous spiritual tourist destination in the northern region.
The pagoda is known for many records established such as the temple has the largest gold-plated Buddha in Asia; the longest Arhat Corridor in Asia; the Tallest Buddha Relic Tower in Asia; and the largest bronze Maitreya Buddha statue in Southeast Asia.
In 2018, a branch of Sri Lanka’s Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi also was planted at Tam Chuc Pagoda in Kim Bang district, the northern province of Ha Nam, by Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Karu Jayasuriya.
The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is said to be the right-wing branch (southern branch) from the historical Sri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
In 1959, during his visit to Vietnam, Indian Prime Minister Razendia Prasat offered President Ho Chi Minh a bodhi tree, grafted from the holy Bodhi tree, where the Lord Buddha was said to have sat under in order to reach enlightenment. After over 60 year, the tree is still alive and green at Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of oldest pagodas in Hanoi.
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