The Sacred Bo Tree or the “Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya” is in the sacred city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. And it is the oldest living tree in the world with a known planting age. It is in the Mahamewna Garden, Anuradhapura. This Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya is a sapling from the historical Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, India. And it is where the Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment. This sapling is the southern branch of the sacred Bo tree in India.
Sri Maha Bodhiya is an authentic and a living link to Lord Buddha. Therefore, the Buddhists all over the world consider it as one of the most sacred relics. There are many other Bo trees around this sacred Bo tree protecting it from storms and animals like monkeys and bats.
In 2014, the government banned all the constructions within 500m of the Bo tree, allowing only the constructions that will not harm the sacred Bo tree.
In the 3rd century BC, this sacred Bo tree ceremonially bought to Sri Lanka by Arahath Sangamiththa Theree, the daughter of Emperor Ashoka in India, with the instructions of Arahath Mihindu Thero. Mihindu thero was the Buddhist monk who bought Buddhism to Sri Lanka. After that, King Devanampiyatissa, who was the king of Sri Lanka at that time planted this sacred Bo tree on a high terrace the ground in the Mahamewna Gardens.
Religious and Social Significance
In general, Buddhists have a strong belief that offerings made to the Sri Maha Bodhiya have significant positive changes in their lives. Many Buddhists make special vows before this sacred Bo tree for the safe delivery of their babies. And also farmers around Anuradhapura area offer their first paddy harvest to the Sri Maha Bodhiya as a tradition. They have a strong belief that such offerings can lead to a sustained paddy production.
Buddhist devotees from all over the country visit Sri Maha Bodhiya everyday and organize sermon sessions. In these sessions, you can find the atmosphere around the Sri Maha Bodhiya filled with the fragrance of incense sticks.
And also many Buddhist devotees believe that this sacred tree has the power of granting the wishes of people.