Speech given by Gesang Suolang at the Bodhighara Dedication Ceremony held at the Holy Vajrasana Temple on May 11, 2014:
The Sri Maha Bodhi Tree (Ficus religiosa) in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date. The sacred tree, a descendent of the historical tree under which Shakyamuni Buddha sat to become enlightened in Bodhgaya, India, was brought to Sri Lanka in 288 BCE by the Ven. Sangamitta, the sister of Ven. Arahath Mahinda. The two venerables were the daughter and son of the Emperor Asoka who sent them as missionaries to the island. It has been tended by an uninterrupted succession of guardians for 2,300 years, even during the periods of foreign occupation and the many civil wars.
Sri Lankan Heads of State have sought the blessings of the Sri Maha Bodhi before commencing any important work. It is a very important site of pilgrimage for the devout.
This descendent of the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree that has been installed as a Bodhighara (Bodhi Tree Shrine) in the Holy Vajra Pole Court at the site of the future Holy Vajrasana Temple in Sanger, California is a precious reminder of how Shakyamuni Buddha sat under its ancestor over 2,500 years ago and obtained Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. We express our gratitude to Shakyamuni Buddha and to His teacher, Dorje Chang Buddha for bringing us the most complete Buddhadharma that can enable us to likewise become enlightened. We give our most humble thanks and offer our devotion to the magnificent Manifestation, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III who empowered this site as the Fourth Vajra Throne (Vajrasana) in the world today.
We wish to also thank Bhikshu Gunaratana for the gift of this tree which he received from Lanka Rama Vihara, a Sri Lankan temple located in La Puenta, California.