The Childhood of Buddha As Prince Siddhartha Gautama
Continued from << The Birth Of Buddha Story
Prince Siddhartha's childhood
The young prince was as beautiful as his mother Queen Mayadevi had been and as an orphan he was brought up in the care of his mother's sister Prajapati Gotami, another of his father's wives.
A Brahmin priest is said to have foretold the prince's greatness, having identified; the thirty two principal signs and eighty secondary marks by which, according to popular belief in India, a great man may be recognised!
Prince Siddhartha quickly justified the high repute in which he was held. When he was sent to 'writing school' he displayed even more talent than his masters, and one of them, Visvamitra, under whose care he was more especially placed, soon declared that he had nothing more to teach him.
In the midst of companions of his own age, the child took no part in their games; he seemed to be even then absorbed in higher thoughts, often remaining aloof and meditating.
One day when visiting an agricultural village with his school class, he wandered off into a forest, much to the bewilderment of his tutors. A hue and cry went up and even the King joined in the search, only to find the young prince sat meditating under a Jambul tree (Syzygium cumini - an evergreen tropical tree in the flowering plant family Myrtaceae, India and Nepal).
As we now know meditating under trees, particularly the Bodhi Tree, also known as Bo, from the Sinhalese, was a large and very old Sacred Fig tree (Ficus religiosa) located in Bodh Gaya, about 100km / 62mi from Patna in the Indian state of Bihar, under which Siddhartha Gautama, achieved enlightenment.
In Buddhist religious iconography, the Bodhi tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed. It takes 100 to 3,000 years for a bodhi tree to fully grow.
The term "Bodhi Tree" is also widely applied to currently existing trees, particularly the Sacred Fig growing at the Mahabodhi Temple, which is allegedly a direct descendant of the original specimen. This tree is a frequent destination for pilgrims, being the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
Other holy Bodhi trees which have a great significance in the history of Buddhism are the Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Both are believed to have been propagated from the original Bodhi tree as are many in Thailand's Buddhist Temple grounds.
Buddhist Flag Meanings
Thailand, Chiang Mai - Wat Phan Tao Teak Temple - The Pan Tao Bodhi Tree with Buddha image beneath.
The Dharma Wheel
In Buddhism—according to the Pali Canon, Vinayapitaka, Khandhaka,
Mahavagga, the number of spokes of the Dharmachakra represent
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is a Japanese Buddhist
chant based upon the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin (Feb 16, 1222 – Oct
13, 1282) a Buddhist monk who lived during the Kamakura period (1185–1333)
in Japan. Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra, entitled Myōhō-Renge-Kyō in
Japanese, as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment and the chanting of
Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō as the essential practice of the teaching.
Various schools with diverging interpretations of Nichiren's teachings comprise