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The Bodhi Tree ("tree of awakening"), also called the Mahabodhi Tree, Bo Tree, is a large sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa) located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India. Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher who became known as the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment or buddhahood circa 500 BCE under this tree. In religious iconography, the Bodhi Tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed.
The original tree under which Siddhartha Gautama sat is no longer living, but the term "bodhi tree" is also applied to existing sacred fig trees. The foremost example of an existing tree is the Mahabodhi Tree growing at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, which is often cited as a direct descendant of the original tree. This tree, planted around 250 BCE, is a frequent destination for pilgrims, being the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
Other holy bodhi trees with great significance in the history of Buddhism are the Anandabodhi Tree at Jetavana in Sravasti in North India and the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Both are also believed to have been propagated from the original Bodhi Tree.
The Forest Research Institute of India assists in the upkeep of the tree since 2007. Cloning has been considered in 2008. Its sacred leaves can also be bought by pilgrims as mementos. Religious offerings, which would draw insects, were shifted to some distance from the tree.
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