Festivities for the Bodhi Tree

from the Extended Mahāvaṁsa, Chapter V. The Third Recital
ExtMhv 111-120 cf. Mhv. 64-68

Bodhi Tree Festivities (Mural at Wat Pho, Bangkok)

Bodhi Tree Festivities
(Mural at Wat Pho, Bangkok)

On the first day of the bright half of the month Kattikā the Guardian of the World Asoka placed a branch of the Great Bodhi to the east of the root of a lovely great Sāla tree, and worshipping it day by day, on the seventeenth day new shoots starting taking hold and arose on the trunk of the delightful Bodhi Tree.

Seeing that the Lord of the World, his mind faithful and satisfied, with his ten fingers raised in reverential salutation to his head, said: “I give it sovereignty over the whole of the Rose-Apple Island,” and the Lord of the World consecrated the Great Bodhi Tree with sovereignty.

The novice Sumana who was sent by Mahinda in order to take a relic of the Teacher together with his bowl, on the Full-Moon day of Kattikā flew through the sky and arrived in the delightful City of Flowers. 1

At that time the Great Bodhi Tree had been placed at the root of the lovely Sāla tree and in that place he saw them worshipping with the offerings at the Kattikā festival. The Lord of the Planet placed a guard around the Bodhi Tree and dwelt near it together with his council of ministers.

translator’s note: the text here is translated from the Extended version of the Mahāvaṁsa, for more information see the preface to this series. Where the extended version and the original differ the text is italicised.

All the women of the harem, with Saṅghamittā at their head, went out from the city and worshipped it with all sorts of offerings, and they dwelt near the Great Bodhi Tree, together with their husband.

The worship of the beautiful, noble, excellent Bodhi Tree, with many and extensive flags, flowers and fruits at its head, opened the minds of men and the protective gods, like a lotus opened by the rays of the sun without any effort on its part.

The blossoming flowers in the lakes of Pāṭaliputta delighted the minds of the people and the protective gods. After emitting six colourful rays in the sky and on the ground, and instilling faith in all the people, it dwelt there like an Awakened One.

Written for the Faith and Invigoration of Good People
The Eighteenth Chapter in the Great Lineage called
The Acquisition of the Great Bodhi Tree

End Notes

1 Another name for Pāṭaliputta, Asoka’s capital, now known as Patna.

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