Dear Bhante. I have a question related to my recent pilgrimage to India. At Savati, a sign said Anathapindika planted a Bodhi tree (Ajahn Brahmali said it’s known as Ananda’s Bodhi Tree). Anathapindika planted it so people would have something to worship when the Buddha was not in residence at Savati. Ven. Ananda went to the Buddha to ask him what he thought about this. The Buddha replied that he thought it was ok for people to “venerate” 3 things:
- his relics after his parinibbhana
- an object used by the Buddha such as his alms-bowl
- a visible symbol such as a Dhammacakka wheel. The Buddha said the Bodhi tree came under this category.
Is this a storey from the suttas? What word did the Buddha use? It doesn’t seem consistent with his teachings that he would use a word like venerate. I could imagine him suggesting that these objects could be used to remind of of his awakening and thus inspire us in our own efforts. What is the historical evidence for what the Buddha actually said? Or is this just a legend? Metta, Mary from Canada