Bihar to approach Sri Lanka for Bodhi tree sapling

IANS, Jun 28, 2010

Patna, India -- The Bihar government will approach Sri Lanka for another sapling of the Bodhi tree after the first one planted by Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama here wilted due to negligence, triggering anger in the Buddhist community.

Bihar Art and Culture Minister Renu Devi told IANS Monday over telephone that the state government will approach the Sri Lankan government for another sapling of the Bodhi tree.

“It appears that the sapling of the Bodhi tree wilted due to extreme weather this summer,” she said.

“We will try to plant another sapling,” she said.

The sapling that wilted was brought from Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, which is home to one of the oldest Bodhi trees, planted in 288 B.C.

Buddhist monks are shocked and angry after the sapling planted by the Dalai Lama at the Buddha Smriti Park here about a month ago, wilted.

It is under the Bodhi tree that the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya about 2,500 years ago.

“The state has failed to protect and nurse the sapling of the Bodhi tree, sacred to millions across the World,” Bhante Priyasheel, a monk at Bodh Gaya, said.

Another Buddhist monk, Bhante Anand, said the failure to protect the sapling has exposed the Bihar government’s claims to promote Buddhist culture.

Vineet Singh, an environment activist here, said: “If a sapling of the Bodhi tree planted by the Dalai Lama has wilted, one can imagine the concern the state government has for the environment.”