For the Lenten Photo Invitation
The Last Installment
Two Stories: "The Bodhi Tree" and "The Tree of Life"
Siddhartha remembered meditating under the rose-apple tree when he was a child. "I shall meditate as I did before. Perhaps that is the way to become enlightened." From then on he began to eat daily.
Still seeking a way to understand the meaning of life, Siddhartha set out for Buddhagaya. Near a grove, he sat down under a huge Bodhi tree. Silently he vowed, "Even if my flesh and blood were to dry up, leaving only skin and bones, I will not leave this place until I find a way to end all sorrow." He sat there for forty nine days. He was determined to discover the source of all pain and suffering in the world. Mara, the evil one, tried to scare him into giving up his quest. For instance, he hoped to lure Siddhartha into having selfish thoughts by sending visions of his very beautiful daughters. But the Buddha's goodness protected him from such attacks.
During this period, Siddhartha was able to see things as they truly were. Now he had finally found the answer to suffering: "The cause of suffering is greed, selfishness and stupidity. If people get rid of these negative emotions, they will be happy."
During a full-moon night in May, Siddhartha went into deep meditation. As the morning star appeared in the eastern sky, he became an enlightened one, a Buddha. He was thirty five years old.
When the Buddha stood up at last, he gazed at the tree in gratitude, to thank it for having given him shelter. From then on, the tree was known as the Bodhi tree, the tree of Enlightenment.
Somewhere in time, in the farthest region of Southeast Asia there was a small village where an old farmer lives. His name was Ripat. He was a virtuous man. Ripat used to plant vegetables, corns, bananas, pineapples, and coconut trees in his farm.
One day, Ripat left his house and went to a neighboring village to help plant trees following the municipal order of the mayor. Before he left his place he took the seed of â€œlo-veâ€ (the dialect word for coconut in the province) and went on his journey. After two days, Ripat arrived at the village and meet the council of elders. The wisest elder of the village asked Ripat why he brought with him the seed of coconut tree to the village. Ripat answered by telling a story:
When God created Paradise he also planted with it the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. Before God created the tree of life he took 3 cups of water from the river of life and protected it with a pure white edible flesh inside. Then, he put the edible flesh with life water inside a thick hard shell and protected it with fibrous husk yields coir. Then, it was called the seed of life.
After God made the seed of life he planted it in paradise where it grows and becomes the tree of life. The tree of life bears many fruits of its own kind just like the seed of life. Then, Ripat continues: The seed of life that Iâ€m is referring to is the same as the seed of â€œlo-veâ€ (also known as coconut fruit) that I brought with you. â€œGod send his â€œloveâ€ to us in the form of flesh and blood and planted it on Mt. Calvary where it grows and bears fruits of millions around the world.