Blue Garuda wrote:
Attachments to objects of virtue may be useful in motivating us, but the tree is not Buddha, Dharma or Sangha. It is the attachment of Buddhists to it which makes it of value and therefore a target for theft and harm.
Actually it is in aspect the Sangha. A physical manifestation of the Dharma in the world. Stupas are likewise Sangha, the third facet of the Triple Gem. Hence they should be respected, well-maintained and revered.
I've noticed a clearly visible residue of Protestant thinking amongst a lot of English speaking Buddhists. You're all fine with abandoning tradition, symbols and imagery.
That might work for you, but such sentiments are totally self-serving and harmful. Like I said, the majority of Buddhists are emotionally invested in such things. If you turn around and tell them to cut all attachment to such things, it won't help anyone. You're also so quick to toss things out the window saying they're unnecessary, meanwhile you're equally if not more attached to other worldly phenomena.
Moreover, the fact of the matter is that historically most Buddhists of any country have valued such things as the Bodhi Tree, Stupas and holy sites. They are more than just things to motivate people. They are physical manifestations of the Triple Gem in the world, born out of vast causes and conditions of virtue, conviction and positive intention. That the bodhi tree and Mahabodhi Temple, or any other ancient site, still remains to this day is a testament to our predecessors' faith and good-will. Such virtues should be emulated, not so lightly dismissed.
I also need not have to remind you it was the Buddha who ordered the building of stupas to enshrine his relics following his death. The bodhi tree and the surrounding stupas immediately around it are to be considered in the same light.
This being the kaliyuga I imagine a lot of people here wouldn't bat an eyelash if the bodhi tree was burned down. You might even laugh and think you're being unattached to things, thus justified in having such thoughts and it somehow expressing your advanced state of practice.
Wow. What a lot of assumptions and non sequitur comment.
First false premise - a tree is exactly like a stupa......followed by a lot of comment about stupas derived from that false premise, which really have zilch to do with this tree. Even if this tree were shown to be the actual tree alive at the time of Buddha, I don't recall records of him asking people to go out and plant trees to commemorate him.
The Protestant jibe was hilarious - aimed at Vajrayana practitioners? :
'You're all fine with abandoning tradition, symbols and imagery.'
You really have no idea, have you?
Oh, and Protestants were pretty upset when a holy tree in Glastonbury was similarly denuded by thieves, and they seem to venerate a symbol of crucifixion I seem to remember - in fact Bishops sometimes wear wooden crosses made from the wood of that tree. Another false premise and a load of non sequitur.
The rest of your response was ill-judged. Perhaps type an angry response into your word processor, leave it overnight, and then post it when calmer?
I'm actually a great lover of trees - I don't pick and choose though. We have a symbiotic relationship with them, and I really feel their power in terms of the the life energy of the universe, or as Dylan Thomas put it: 'the force that through the green fuse drives the flower'. My attachment means that I may cry when I see the rainforests, the 'lungs of the earth', destroyed and the many deaths it brings.
Ok, so you visited the place and were overcome with emotion - that is exaclty what my story was all about. The tree has no inherent sacred qualities. It is all from our own side. We can choose to form such attachments or not, and transfer them. Surely that is undeniable - you are just shooting the messenger.
There are surely many more deserving reasons to cry in India. Perhaps beings who wish to develop universal compassion may be better served by venerating the life of a girl baby thrown out to die in the gutter, or caring about the torture of animals. I thought witnessing such suffering was the motivation for Shakyamuni's quest - obviously I was wrong and he actually became enlightened by eating figs and declaring the tree to be forever worshipped as the bearer of the fruit of the 3 Jewels. Not.