By Michael Wood
Last updated 2011-02-17
Legend has it that he sat under a tree and meditated until he received the answers to the questions that had been troubling him. Seven weeks later he set forth for Sarnath, near Varanasi where he sought to teach what he had discovered.
The tree has great importance in the story of Buddha. In addition to his attaining enlightenment under one, it is claimed that Prince Siddhartha's mother gave birth to him while leaning against a tree and that Buddha died under the shade of two sal trees.
Known as the 'Bodhi Tree', the tree presently at Bodh Gaya is said to descend from the original. When Emperor Asoka's wife cut down the tree, her daughter salvaged a sapling from it and planted it in Sri Lanka (where it still exists). A cutting from that tree was then carried back and planted where the original once stood.
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