I shot the photograph Roots of Buddha on a warm day with a cooling breeze coming off the ocean nearby.
It was a complete delight to stand under a tree with such a mystical quality. The thick roots branched in all directions away from the thick round trunk of this massive fig tree. The small leaves shooting from the thousands of branches in the canopy above letting the sun drift down to the exposed ground at its base.
The small patches of lichen, moss and mold growing on the exposed gray roots fascinated me. It was at this point I discovered that this tree is a Bodhi tree.
The old story of Siddhārtha Gautama, that esteemed teacher from the depths of Indian history flashed into my mind. He saw the world differently than most, and his reaction to the suffering he discovered both to the people around him and in his own heart drove him to try some ways to understand why the world was in such a mess.
The legends say that he finally sat under a tree like this one for seven days and meditated. The imagery of a learned man sitting under the branches of a fig tree with the cool breeze and leaves offering refreshment from the elements is invigorating. Imagine his back nestled between the branching roots created a force of living protection and inspiring peacefulness.
Siddhartha’s impressive internal discipline forced a need to challenge himself to the meditation on the interesting impermanence of the world around him led to his enlightenment as the Buddha. His unique understanding and cultivation of the noble truths inspire and continue to influence the world today.
All of this made possible by just sitting quietly under the roots of a fig tree, sitting under the Roots of Buddha.
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