Friday, January 16, 2015

In the Beginning, Buddha Was Not Represented in Human Form But Symbols Such as the Bodhi Tree

By Kai Weise
Artist drawing of the Bodhi Tree. Courtesy of IMGKid
CHINA---The sacred city which was the capital of the Singhalese till the 10th century CE was the centre of Theravada Buddhism from where it spread to Southeast Asia. It is said that in the third century BCE a branch of the Bodhi tree under which Siddhartha attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya was brought to Sri Lanka by Sangamitta, daughter of Emperor Asoka. It was under the Bodhi tree, ficus religiosa, that Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. The early phases of Buddhist art till the first century CE is generally considered to be aniconic, since the Buddha was not represented in human form but symbols such as the Bodhi tree were used. The Bodhi tree has come to represent the Buddha himself and is therefore given innumerable powers. The ancient city of Anuradhapura in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka was established in the fourth century BCE. [link]