The Bodhi Tree by the Road

By Jian Yong

There is a Bodhi tree by the road just next to Aljunied MRT Station. For the past 12 years, I walked past it often, weekly to be exact. I have walked by it on sunny hot days, walked by it on rainy days, on windy days and on cloudy days, year after year.

Whenever I see the Bodhi tree, I will always stop and take a look at it and indulge in a brief moment of inner peace& self-reflection. It has since, become a habit.

Sometimes when rays of sunlight shine through the leaves onto my face, I will be reminded of how the Buddha sat beneath the Bodhi Tree and how he had vowed to end all suffering of sentient beings. I am so blessed to know his path and to have the opportunity to live this lifetime as a human being and to learn to walk his path.

On windy days when the Bodhi leaves fall on my hand, I will be reminded that we are all walking towards the same destination: Death. It doesn’t matter how long one lives; if one doesn’t cultivate, there will still be countless lifetimes of suffering. As life is filled with impermanence, so we should be appreciative of the little things in life and be grateful that we have a healthy body for cultivation.

On rainy days or on days where I feel down, I will be reminded of, while under shade of the Bodhi tree, of my Buddhist teacher’s words, “Has your mind always been thinking of the benefits of all beings? It doesn’t matter how insignificant we may seem now. As as long as we do not regress from the path of Bodhisattva, one day we will get there. A Bodhisattva goes through countless lifetimes of hardship and cultivation to get where they are. So why spend time worrying about life’s ups and downs? Instead we should see them as opportunities to cultivate and grow our Loving-Kindness and Compassion for the sake of helping others.

In our daily life, we are too engrossed with making a living. Often, we do not even have a moment to be aware of our thoughts. Instead, we simply muddle through the flow of of activities that just keep coming. Finally, when you are home, our body is just too tired to meditate. Thus, walk beneath the Bodhi tree gives me a precious moment to reflect. By reflecting, I will know not to stray too far from the path of Buddha. 

The next time you walk past the Bodhi tree, pause to take a look at it. Will it inspire and guide you as much as it did me?