1. a woody perennial plant, typically having a single stem or trunk growing to a considerable height and bearing lateral branches at some distance from the ground.
2. a wooden structure or part of a structure.
“The natural world is an essential phenomenon through which we may better come to know the divine.”
The tree represents creation as a whole, symbolic of the entire Earth, its various peoples, cultures, creatures and ecosystems. No two trees are alike, and there are many different species of trees, each having evolved in significance based on the region in which it is found. To Hindus, for example, the banyan tree represents fertility, love, and life, and it is believed to be home to holy trinity of Hindu gods (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva). Buddha found enlightenment while meditating under the bodhi tree, and bodhi trees are found next to Buddhist temples throughout Asia. Mohammad was said to have compared a good Muslim to a palm tree, and stated that planting such a tree was a satisfactory substitute for alms.
In addition to their many practical gifts, trees have long been sacred to people. Forests served as humanity’s first places of worship, and still evoke a sense of the divine. From the massive cathedral groves of redwoods, to the knarled olive trees of the middle east, to the signature fat-trunked baobab of Africa, trees evoke something in us that reminds us of our connection to the natural world, as well as the divine.
BODHI (from Bodhisattva):
1. supreme knowledge or enlightenment.
bodhisattva, a seeker of the bodhi, one who endeavors to become a Buddha or World Teacher
bodhi tree, the tree under which Buddha acquires enlightenment.
Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, a Bodhisattva of the East, once said: “Observe the existence of the self within the bamboo forest.” She goes on, “The Bodhisattva always lives in the forest in the valley.” This means that within each of us there dwells a Buddha of Mercy. If we look at the Chinese character for valley, (谷), it becomes clear that it refers to the Door or Portal that is set within a forest.
Thus, the gate of Truth rests within. The portal to Infinity. “When all outward props fail and when all the apparent authorities differ in the solution proffered, then souls are thrown back upon themselves and learn to seek within. This inner contact with the higher self is becoming apparent in gradually unfolding degree, and leads to that self-reliance and inward calm which is based upon the rule of the inner God and which, therefore, makes a man an instrument for service in the world.” (A.A.B., A Treatise on White Magic, p129-30.)
When we have found the Buddha or Presence within, let us follow its guidance and be with it at all times.
The question then arises: How can this awakening and coordination be brought about? What steps must be taken? Faced with these questions, the true teacher finds a difficulty. It is not easy to make clear the esoteric and paralleling activities which are the result of character building. So oft the aspirant is anxious to be told some new thing and when he is told some old truth—so old and so familiar that it fails to call forth a registering response—he feels that the teacher has failed him and so succumbs to a sense of futility and depression. However, this must be met and the questions must be answered. (ibidem, p200)
In the past, life was much simpler and, on the whole, more peaceful. Our ancestors did not feel such a strong yearning for truth as we do now. For thousands of years, the Great Teachers, the saints and bodhisattvas of all the major world religions have preached the seed of truth, have shared their wisdom through teachings and texts, and have prepared humanity for what was to come, what we as humans could not have foreseen ever happening to us. Their mission was carried out for the benefit of humankind, so that humans could continue to thrive and find peace on earth. Yet, the present state of the world affairs indicate otherwise. So intense is the suffering felt from the external circumstances that many are recognizing an adjustment in mental attitude is needed. Human actions, particularly the obsession with greed and desire, have led to compulsive behaviors that continue to multiply on a massive scale. While the saints and bodhisattvas have paved the way so that we may return to our true nature and pure conscience, we must be the ones to rightfully correct our behaviors and continue the propagation of the essence of truth.
“These Elder Brothers (Saints and Sages) of humanity are characterized by a love which endures, and which acts ever for the good of the group; by a knowledge which has been gained through millennia of lives, in which They have worked Their way from the bottom of life and of evolution well nigh to the top; by an experience which is based on time itself and a multiplicity of personality reactions and interactions; by a courage which is the result of that experience, and which, having itself been produced by ages of endeavour, failure, and renewed endeavour, and having in the long run led to triumph, can now be placed at the service of the race; by a purpose which is enlightened and intelligent, and which is cooperative…"To know, to will, to dare, and to be silent." Knowing the plan so well, and having clear, illuminated vision, They can bend Their will unflinchingly and unswervingly to the great work of creation by the power of sound. This leads to Their silence where the average man would speak, and Their speaking where the average man is silent.” (A.A.B., Initiation, Human and Solar, p25)
(of water) perennially flowing.
Living, contains the very principle of Life, this basic essential of Being, and this mysterious elusive factor is the correspondence in man of that which we call spirit or life in the macrocosm. Just as the life in man holds together, animates, vitalises and drives into activity the form and so makes of him a living being, so Life performs the same purpose in the universe and produces that coherent, living, vital ensemble which we call a solar, or planetary system.
“This stream of living energy can nevertheless be sensed in a large way, though not as yet appropriated in its pure essence. We call it the "love of God". It is indeed that free flowing, outgoing, magnetically attractive force which leads each pilgrim “home to the Father's House.” It is that force which stirs in the heart of humanity and finds expression through the medium of world avatars, through the mystical yearning found in every human being, through all movements that have for their objective the welfare of humanity, through philanthropic and educational tendencies of every kind, and (in the natural world so-called) through the instinct of protective motherhood.” (TWM, p321)
“The soul, seated in the heart, is the life principle, the principle of self-determination, the central nucleus of positive energy by means of which all the atoms of the body are held in their right place and subordinated to the "will-to-be" of the soul.”
We are living souls, working through personalities, and not personalities actuated by occasional soul impulses. In other words, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience, not human beings having a spiritual experience.” (Teilhard)
We are therefore, living conscious souls, working through coordinated personalities— energized into activity by the need of humanity itself.
It is this living germ or “seed” which can expand into the divine flower of the Son of Mind, the Manasaputra, and as the thread which leads back into the realm of the Universal Mind.
is when “the result is greater than the sum of its component parts”, or when divine purpose is steadily working out its objectives.
In those three words—living, moving and being—we have the entire story of the Name. Being (steady like a tree) is awareness, self consciousness and self-expression. Living is energy, desire in form, coherence and adhesion to an idea (in this case, to the abstract ideal or essence of truth to be found). Moving (as a Bodhisattva from the inner Place or Seat of the Soul and out into the world) indicates the integration and response of the existing, aware, living entity into the universal activity.
From certain aspects, therefore, this process indicates human's unity with everything that is material; it demonstrates that we are part of nature itself and by nature we mean the body of the one life in whom "we live and move and have our being." Living Bodhi Tree is essentially a return to this state of oneness, or synthesis, a Communion with the Intelligence within, which is simultaneously expressing itself outwardly through creation.