A friend has recently pointed to me that across some sutta of SN47 we find the passage which hints at there being a place of relevance by Uruvela surrounding a banyan tree ( nigrodha, sp. Ficus benghalensis).
“Mendicants, at one time, when I was first awakened, I was staying near Uruvelā at the goatherd’s banyan tree on the bank of the Nerañjarā River.
“ekamidāhaṁ, bhikkhave, samayaṁ uruvelāyaṁ viharāmi najjā nerañjarāya tīre ajapālanigrodhe paṭhamābhisambuddho
At the same time, I couldn’t find at first a clear mention in the suttas to the bodhi tree (sp. ficus religiosa), which tradition holds was the tree under which the Buddha attained awakening.
Does anyone know of any early Buddhist reference for the belief that it was indeed under a bodhi tree and not a banyan tree at Uruvela that the Buddha attained awakening?
It’s the first sentence in the account in the first Vinaya Khandhaka:
Soon after his awakening, the Buddha was staying at Uruvelā on the bank of the river Nerañjara at the foot of a Bodhi tree.
Thank you Ayya.
What about in the suttas? Any mention?
If you scroll down in the Mahakkhandaka reference kindly provided by Daw Sabbamitta to the second section, it gives an account of the role of the Goatherd’s banyan tree (ajapālanigrodha) in the Buddha’s movements immediately post awakening. According to the khandaka account, after awakening, the Buddha stayed at the bodhi tree for a week and then at the Ajapalanigrodha for a week.
You can tell this tree apart from the bodhi tree in art because it is normally shown with goats.
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Take a look at the first chapter of the Udana. You can see the initial suttas take place under the Bodhi tree and the event under the Goatherd’s banyan comes in a different sutta.
ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā uruvelāyaṁ viharati najjā nerañjarāya tīre bodhirukkhamūle paṭhamābhisambuddho.
At one time, when he was first awakened, the Buddha was staying near Uruvelā at the root of the tree of awakening on the bank of the Nerañjarā River.
BTW, there is a belief that the Goatherd Banyan can still be found right outside of Bodhgaya. You have to cross the Neranjara and drive back along the river some way.
Thank you @Snowbird , @Suvira and @sabbamitta
All this confirms to me that indeed one was the type of tree under which the Buddha awakened and another was the type of tree under which he spent time after his awakening at Uruvela.
I moved this to the Q&A category, even though we don’t tend to use categories very strictly here. (non-moderator users seem to have this power, so why not use it, eh?) If you like you could select one of the responses as an answer if you feel like you have gotten a satisfactory one.
Thank you very much Bhante!!!
Here is a slightly better photo of the trunk, if you can call it that.
According to my records, here is a Google Map point for its location:
So, this one would be the goat herd banyan tree (ajapālanigrodhe) right?
That’s what people believe, yes.