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04:30 • the tree under which Buddha found enlightenment



If the site of Bodghaya, located near the city of Gaya in the state of Bihar in northern India is generally little known to the general public, it is nevertheless one of the most important places for Buddhists around the world.

It is there, under a fig tree of the pagodas (or ficus religiosa or even Bodhi tree) that Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment, making him a Buddha.

Buddha lived in the 5th or 6th century BC and was a spiritual leader born in Nepal, founder of an order of wandering monks.

Emperor Ashoka

Around the 3rd century BC, Emperor Ashoka, who adopted the principles of non-violence advocated by Buddhism after the bloodiest battle in Indian history, the conquest of Kalinga would play an important role for the radiation of Bodhgaya.

Visiting Bodhgaya to honor his spiritual master, he decided to build a monastery and a shrine there to erect the diamond throne on the very spot where Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment.

Mahabodhi temple

The Mahabodhi temple was born.

In the 12th century, northern India was invaded by Muslim armies from Afghanistan who looted the temple. Temple attendance and maintenance will suffer for a very long time.

Later, in the 16th century, a Hindu temple was built near the Buddhist temple dating from the Ashoka period and soon the entire site housing the Mahabodhi temple became the property of the dignitaries managing the Hindu temple.

When the British took power in India, they showed little interest in the title deeds boasted by Hindu dignitaries and set about restoring the Buddhist temple of Mahabodhi, under the leadership of Alexander Cullingham. Cullingham also had a Bodhi tree replanted in the very spot where the tree under which Buddha found enlightenment was believed to be. Following this restoration, the Buddhists, under the leadership of Anagarika Dharmapala began a campaign to recover the rights to the Mahabodhi temple, much to the chagrin of the Hindus who had owned the site for over 300 years.

In 1949, a committee of 9 members was appointed to manage the temple. This mixed committee, Hindus and Buddhists, with however a Hindu majority, gave back to the Mahabodhi temple its radiance which it had lost. The pilgrimages of the Buddhist world resumed, and with them the construction of many temples by the various Buddhist countries in the vicinity of the Mahabodhi.

It is probably because (or thanks) to this mixed management that the temple is used for both Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies.

The Mahabodhi complex has been a World Heritage Site since 2002.

What is visible today on the site of the Mahabodhi temple dates for the most part from the 7th century, if not a little earlier, but many restorations took place in the 19th century. But the current structure has many much older parts, dating back to the beginning of our era.

Bodhgaya was already a famous place of pilgrimage at that time. While the general structure of the site is old, many original sculptures have not survived to this day or have been placed in the museum near the site.


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** India **


-- Bihar --


Bodhgaya - Autres temples


Bodhgaya - Mahabodi


India - Villages and schools (3)

Bodhgaya, Bihar India, Mahabodi, bodhi tree

about the place, Bodhgaya:

The city of Bodhgaya in the state of Bihar in India is above all a city of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi temple complex. It is under the ficus of the pagodas (or rather an ancestor of it) which is in the enclosure of this complex that the Buddha attains enlightenment (nirvana). Since the dawn of time, Bodhgaya has been a renowned religious center for both Buddhists and Hindus.

Bodhgaya is the most important of the Buddhist sites in India.

Spoken comments in the film: 

When it comes to Buddhism few people spontaneously think of India. Beyond the ideological "flexibility" of Hinduism which considers Buddha as a reincarnation of Vishnu, India's links with Buddhism are undeniable. Buddhism originated in India like many religions.

Buddha lived in India and it was here in Bodhgaya that he attained enlightenment (enlightenment) (bodhi) under a papil (tree known as the fig tree of the pagodas - ficus religiosa).

Bodhgaya is a very important religious center and we meet Buddhists from all over the world but also Hindu sages.

Various Buddhist countries have built temples in this small town (less than 40,000 inhabitants).

According to tradition, this fig tree of the pagodas on the site was replanted on the very spot where Buddha attained nirvana (enlightenment)

Bodhgaya, Bihar, India