TATTOO DESIGNS & SYMBOLS - BODHI TREE TATTOOS
Tattoo designs - B >> Bodhi Tree
Bodhi Tree - Buddhist Tattoo Meanings - The Bodhi Tree, symbol of Buddha's enlightenment, is a reminder of the ultimate human potential that lies within us all. 'Bodhi' in the Sanskrit language, means 'fully awake'.
Let us explain this further:
Prince Siddhartha Guatama, said to have lived some 2500 years ago on the northern plains of India, abandoned his life of luxury and privilege - not to mention his wife and child - and began wandering the countryside in search of eternal truths. Frustrated after years of living as an ascetic with nothing to show for it, he committed himself to sitting in complete stillness until he 'woke up'. There he would stay, meditating under a Bodhi tree until he realized the true nature of suffering and existence. The rest is history, or myth, but in any event, the origins of a religion of compassion that thrives to this day.
As well as symbolizing 'enlightenment', the Bodhi tree is synonymous with the very place of Buddha's awakening, Bodhgaya, India. It also represents our human evolution towards liberation from endless reincarnations in which suffering is inescapable. Buddha's tree is also sacred because of its age. At the site of Buddha's enlightenment, a descendent of the original tree is said to be growing today. And at some Buddhist centres around the world, offshoots of the famous Bodhi tree can be found.
The Bodhi tree as a symbol was already popular in India, so that elevating the Bodhi tree, or its leaf to sacred status was not a great leap of faith, belief or imagination for most people. In the third century BC, India's King Ashoka bolstered the Bodhi tree's reputation by converting to Buddhism and practising his meditations under the original tree. His Queen, failing to appreciate the subtler points of his time-consuming conversion, had the tree chopped down, in an attempt to regain the attention of her beloved. Ashoka is said to have nourished the remaining stump and its roots with milk, and the tree revived, eventually growing once again to its full stature again. His daughter became a Buddhist nun and transplanted a cutting to a garden in a monastery in Sri Lanka, where it stands today as the oldest continually documented tree in the world.
Buddha, the original Prince Siddhartha Gautama, never intended for his enlightenment to metamorphisize into a religion complete with dogma and prayers. He was sure, however, that his experience would be helpful to others. Whatever wisdom he left behind was intended to be used as a guide for anyone who truly yearned to triumph over the suffering of this world and achieve a state of 'Nirvana'. A potent beginning is simply to appreciate the ultimate wisdom symbolized by the Bodhi tree.
As such a Bodhi tree tattoo design is a powerful symbol indeed.
Get inspired by some great images and photos in our Buddhist Bodhi Tree Inspiration Gallery
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