May 10, 2007
You remember the uproar a year ago about a missing branch of the Bodhi Tree? As far as I know it was never resolved—maybe the branch wasn't missing at all, and if it was, there was no clear trail to who took it, or damaged the tree. Here's an update that doesn't answer any interesting questions but says the tree is not looking so hot. Apparently the tree was diseased a few years back and needed some intervention, and the missing branch isn't helping much.
Of course, it's not THE Bodhi Tree—The article today says temple officials say it is a sixth-generation cutting from the original. It was Sri Lankan monks who took a cutting from the Sri Maha Bodhi in their country and brought it to Bodh Gaya.
Trees are potent religious symbols across many cultures, as are mountains. . . anything in Nature. That ought to tell you something. Take some pictures of fish while you're at it—Your great-grandchildren can sell them on eBay, from their condos on the moon.
(Tricycle electronic subscribers can read about how Buddhist pilgrimage is big business for Bodh Gaya these days. A branch of the Bodhi Tree could be worth a lot to the right people -- and more on the business of Buddhist relics in general, from our Spring 2007 issue.)
Philip Ryan, Webmaster