My friend was on a tour and happened to be at Bodhgaya, where the huge Bodhi tree stands with its wide branches and leaves giving shade to a large area. He enquired about the tree under which Buddha got enlightenment. He decided to visit the place and take some photos sitting under the tree. Maybe he might also get enlightenment. He thought the Bodhi tree was instrumental for Buddha’s enlightenment- that the cause of suffering is greed, selfishness and foolishness. My friend imagined that if he got knowledge like Buddha did, he would become the next Buddha. He would be recognised by the world as a preceptor and perpetuator of a new religion!
He reached the spot. Using his knack of persuasion, he got the children around the tree to go away and got the tree all to himself with no one to share in his moment of glory. It was a selfish thought but he could not help himself. After all, the benefits were huge. He sat under the tree with all his belongings by his side. He was really excited to experience ‘the great moment’. He requested a passerby to take a photo of him posing as Buddha under the tree.
He could not close his eyes lest the stranger should run away with his costly camera or other belongings. Three or four poses for the camera and he was satisfied. Now, he expected his knowledge session to begin with the canopy of the tree enveloping him.
Minutes ticked on and time passed by. He sat under the tree, eyes closed, an arm around his luggage. He awaited the great moment. His mind was focused on him emerging as a new person, a Messiah, a Man of God, wearing new robes, his face radiating and people prostrating before him as he left the place. On reaching home his family members would give him a grand welcome, people would throng his residence to seek his blessings to become more successful.
With growing followers across the globe, the rich and powerful would seek him for guidance while offering him lots of goodies. His friends would envy his newfound life and status and beg to know the secret so that they could follow suit.
Suddenly, he woke up from his meditation or should I say slumber. He realised he had been in deep sleep for almost an hour. The only thing he had received under the Bodhi tree was a refreshing sleep with a gentle cool breeze sweeping through him in the afternoon heat in the shade of the tree. He was extremely disappointed with the tree which according to him had been very selective in grinding enlightenment and emancipation. Cursing the tree, he gathered his belongings and started to leave when he heard a sudden ‘thud’. And a voice came from the tree to his utter surprise.
“My dear son, I know you are disappointed in my silence. Sit down once again so that I may teach you a few things. If you have the mental orientation as Siddhartha, you will become another Buddha, else you will leave as a ‘moodha’ (ignorant) as you have been.”
My friend sat down and started listening.
“Many people come here to see the wonderful tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. Like you they love to click pictures and think that sitting in my shade for sometime will make them more knowledgeable. The irony is that I have nothing to do with His enlightenment. Siddhartha was a man of high intellect. Even at a young age, his thought process was unparalleled. The famous 4 sights shook his very being and he immediately detached himself from worldly pleasures. He gave up the comfort of his palace and set out to seek the Truth.”