Buddhist monk files suit for cutting of Bodhi tree

IANS, June 25, 2007

Patna, India -- A Buddhist monk has filed a criminal complaint against top officials of the Bodh Gaya temple in Bihar for allegedly cutting a branch of a Bodhi tree there, considered sacred to millions the world over as it is believed Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under it about 2,550 years ago.

<<  BODHI TREE CHOPPED OFF: The Bodh Gaya Temple management finds itself in the midst of a fresh controversy, with a criminal complaint filed in the court against the cutting off a branch of the famous 'Mahabodhi' tree. Image from Times Now TV.

Arup Brahmachari, a monk in his 30s, has filed a criminal complaint case against officials of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee in the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Gaya.

"I have filed a criminal case against officials of the temple with evidence, including eight photographs, that a branch of the Bodhi tree was cut off," Arup Brahmachari told IANS Sunday over telephone from Bodh Gaya, 110 km from here.

Around a year ago it was widely reported that some miscreants had cut off a branch of the Bodhi tree. The Nitish Kumar-led government was quick in issuing a denial.

However, after a hue and cry over the incident worldwide, the state government got samples collected from the cut area on the tree and sent it to a Pune based forest laboratory to ascertain the truth.

Ironically, nearly 11 months after, the laboratory report is yet to be made public. The Gaya district administration said the report was awaited. Some Buddhist monks suspect that the government is trying to hide truth.

"My complaint was supported by an affidavit filed by Deepak Malakar, a gardener of the temple, who used to look after the Bodhi tree," Brahmachari said.

In his affidavit, Malakar claimed that he cut off a branch of the tree on July 10, 2006, allegedly on the order of Bahadant Bodhipal, the temple chief priest, and carried it to his residence.

Brahmachari has accused top temple officials, including the ex-officio chairman, secretary Kalicharan Yadav, chief priest Bahadant Bodhipal and the Gaya district magistrate, of trying to temper with Malakar's affidavit. "These powerful people are doing everything to frighten Malakar to change his mind over the issue and police have even raided his house," Brahmachari claimed.

Brahamchari, who has been spearheading a campaign against the mushrooming of fake NGOs in Bodh Gaya, said that last week when he went to the police station to file the criminal case the police refused to register it.

The Bodhi tree behind the Mahabodhi temple, which has grown from the original banyan tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, saw new leaves after four years last year.

Last month IANS reported that the tree was threatened by an unknown disease. Hundreds of fresh leaves of the holy tree are falling off daily.

Brahamchari blamed the temple officials of negligence of the Bodhi tree.

Sources in Bodh Gaya said plant scientist A.K. Singh had suggested some corrective measures after examining the tree.

Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from across the world carry back leaves from the tree.

An official of the Mahabodhi temple, which the Unesco has declared a World Heritage Site, said the Bodhi tree is the sixth regeneration of the original banyan tree.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv