Sapling from world’s oldest tree planted at WA Nuns Monastery

On Sunday 25th November 2012 a sapling of the oldest recorded tree in history from Sri Lanka was planted at the Dhammasara nun’s monastery in Gidgeganup. This tree is called the Sri Maha Bodhi tree and was planted in 288 BC during the reign of India’s King Asoka. This branch of the Bodhi tree was sent south to Sri Lanka as part of the King’s effort to spread the Buddha Dhamma far and wide for the benefit of all sentient beings.

The Buddha gained full awakening approximately 2,500 years ago under the original Bodhi tree in India. After gaining the full awakening experience the Buddha remained under the tree for seven weeks to contemplate the finer points of reality (Dhammas).

It is said the Buddha gestured his appreciation to the Bodhi tree, and indeed to all of nature, by touching the earth below his feet as witness to his great achievement. The Bodhi tree (which is similar to the banyan tree of the ficus family) has since that time been respected by Buddhists around the world. The Bodhi tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which is a popular Buddhist symbol.

The sapling that was planted at Dhammasara was a gift from the oldest Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka which was formed in the same year 288 BC. And now in 2012 a sapling from that tree has been sent further south all the way to Australia as a special gift from the people of Sri Lanka to Australians.

A gathering of senior Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka and Australia officiated the planting of the Bodhi tree. This was great significance also because it showed the support by the Sri Lankan Buddhist community of the re-establishment the order of Theravadan nuns in WA in 2008. (The Buddha is the first religious teacher in history to have established a female clergy, but the order of Theravadan branch of nuns died off some centuries after Buddhism died out in India.)