I brought home, from Sri Lanka, the sprout on the top. When it was about a foot tall in this blue pot, I transplanted it to a full sized garbage can with wheels. It has grown to just over 5 feet tall since I planted it in the beginning of April.
The garbage can has holes bored in the bottom and sides. First there is a layer of rock, then sand, then black cow, then Miracle Grow potting soil which is aerated with tiny styrofoam balls. I planted the Bodhi tree in this because it does not tolerate less than 40 F. I knew I would have to move it to a warmer place now and then during the December- March cold spells.
I hope that this April, I can plant it in the ground so it will grow during the summer and be acclimated to the cold next winter, given protecting the roots and trunk during those periods.
I visited the original Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, India last March. It stands many stories tall and has golden posts supporting it. There it stands, probably replaced several times over the centuries, representing Siddhartha the Buddha's enlightenment moment.
I also visited a memorial park which is the site of one of the Buddha's monasteries. It was built by his father, the King, who wanted him to be nearby to advise his brother who inherited the kingdom. In this memorial park is another Bodhi tree called Ananda's Bodhi tree. It probably has been replaced several times over the centuries. It represents a time when all the Bodhi trees died and more were brought from Sri Lanka. This one was planted to see if the other seedlings would live. It, as well, is supported by golden pillars. Around the tree were many different groups of pilgrims, chanting many different chants at the same time. I was overwhelmed with the presence of such power.
the Bodhi tree has lasted through the cold days of the winter because I wheeled it under the house to keep it from the freezing temperatures. Now it has grown as high as the ceiling of its protective cover. Hopefully, the dangerously cold days have passed. Bodhi sits under the stars again and seems to be thriving. I speak to it every day and hold a few of its leaves in a healing pose of my hands. I will plant it in a place which will be protective from high winds (in case of a hurricane) and build a shelter frame ready to protect it from the next cold spell of winter.
Here in Florida, where I and the Bodhi live, is not really tropical nor is it prone to long freezes. But, like other places where climate change is effecting the environment, predicting the course of the weather is not really possible.
Growing a Bodhi tree is much like raising a child, and definitely like caring for a pet. Like all my trees, attention to its health and nurturing its ability to keep on growing is of the essence in its care. When I have those occasional moments of feeling as if I have no purpose and of little to offer, I ned only to return to this journey of my Boshi tree in my life, to know otherwise.
The Bodhi tree is but a metaphor of caring for the earth and its many forms of life. "All The Earth Belongs To All", as a song puts it, is "The Vision And The Call". We are all responsible for responding to the crisis of the health of our Earth.
While I choose reverence for life, the Bodhi tree, under which the Buddhi was finally enlightened, is my symbol of this responsibility which I have chosen.
To what and where is it you have been called to care? What is your vision of the purpose of this caring?