The Bodhi Tree : Buddha

The Bodhi (Sacred Fig) Tree: The Enlightenment of Buddha

After asceticism and concentrating on meditation and Anapana-sati (awareness of breathing in and out), Siddhartha is said to have discovered what Buddhists call the Middle Way—a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. He accepted a little milk and rice pudding from a village girl named Sujata, who wrongly believed him to be the spirit that had granted her a wish, such was his emaciated appearance. Then, sitting under a pipal tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh GayaIndia, he vowed never to arise until he had found the Truth. Kaundinya and the other four companions, believing that he had abandoned his search and become undisciplined, left. After 49 days meditating, at the age of 35, he attained Enlightenment; according to some traditions, this occurred approximately in the fifth lunar month, and according to others in the twelfth. Gautama, from then on, was known as the Buddha or “Awakened One.” Buddha is also sometimes translated as “The Enlightened One.” Often, he is referred to in Buddhism as Shakyamuni Buddha or “The Awakened One of the Shakya Clan.”

At this point, he is believed to have realized complete awakening and insight into the nature and cause of human suffering, which was ignorance, along with steps necessary to eliminate it. This was then categorized into ‘Four Noble Truths‘; the state of supreme liberation—possible for any being—was called Nirvana. He then allegedly came to possess the Ten Characteristics, which are said to belong to every Buddha.

According to one of the stories in the Āyācana Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya VI.1), a scripture found in the Pāli and other canons, immediately after his Enlightenment, the Buddha was wondering whether or not he should teach the Dharma to human beings. He was concerned that, as human beings were overpowered by greed, hatred and delusion, they would not be able to see the true dharma, which was subtle, deep and hard to understand. However, Brahmā Sahampati interceded and asked that he teach the dharma to the world, as “there will be those who will understand the Dharma“. With his great compassion to all beings in the universe, the Buddha agreed to become a teacher.

The Bodhi Tree at the Sri Mahabodhi Temple. Propagated from the Sri Maha Bodhi, which in turn is propagated from the original Bodhi Tree at this location.

Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya in front of the gateway of Jetavana Monastery

The Bodhi Tree, also known as Bo (from the Sinhalese Bo), was a large and very old Sacred Fig tree (Ficus religiosa) located in Bodh Gaya(about 100 km (62 mi) from Patna in the Indian state of Bihar), under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhismlater known as Gautama Buddha, achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi. In religious iconography, the Bodhi tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed. It takes 100 to 3,000 years for a bodhi tree to fully grow.[citation needed]

The term “Bodhi Tree” is also widely applied to currently existing trees, particularly the Sacred Fig growing at the Mahabodhi Temple, which is a direct descendant of the original specimen. This tree is a frequent destination for pilgrims, being the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Other holy Bodhi trees which have a great significance in the history of Buddhism are the Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree in AnuradhapuraSri Lanka. Both are believed to have been propagated from the original Bodhi tree.

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1 Kings 7

1 Kings Chapter 7

1 And Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.

The number 13 is the number of the tarot card Death (Kabbalistically Delth 4). In other words, it was his life’s work constructing the temple (the gateway/door to the divine)

13. And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.

This is the Hiram of the Masonic Tradition. Also know as “The Widows Son” in that tradition (also applied to Jesus Christ, Merlin, and Perceval)

14. He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naph’tali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.

Wisdom and Understanding are the two pillars of Joachim and Boaz and cunning is the Tree of Life/Knowledge.

15. For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about.

The 18 cubits hight represent the 18 paths of the 4 elements. The two together equals 36, which is the 32 paths of the Tree of Life and the four elements from which they are created. Combined with the Roots of Knowledge, there are 72 (2×36, 4×18) paths, these are the 72 Names of God.

The 12 cubit distance between them (entrance/doorway to the temple) represent the seasons of the material world.

16. And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits:

Five was an important in the Numerological tradition. The shield of Solomon was a 5 pointed star (The Magician: man created out of the four elements, Ether). Together the two 5 cubits are 10, the number of Sephiroth on the Tree of Life.

17. and nets of checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars; seven for the one chapiter, and seven for the other chapiter.

The checker work still occurs in the Masonic Tradition, as it did in the inner sanctum of the Masonic Temple I was invited into. This is the Table of the Magician (also the Rosy Cross)

The Golden Candlestick was made of pure gold of “beaten work” with a central shaft ornamented with knobs, flowers, and bowls. There were six branches going out of its sides, three branches out from one side and three out from the other. All the branches, like the shaft, were ornamented with knobs, flowers, and bowls. The bowls were made after the fashion of almonds. On the top of the shaft, and on each one of the six branches, were lamps large enough to hold sufficient oil and cotton to burn all night. Exodus 26: 31-39; 37: 17-24.

18. And he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top, with pomegranates: and so did he for the other chapiter.

The pomegranates appear on the Tree of Life behind the High Priestess in the Raider-Waite illustration.

19. And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits.

20. And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter.

21. And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Joachim: 1 and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz. 2

22. And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

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Kircher’s tree of life

The Latin text on Kircher’s version of the Tree of the Sephiroth is almost impossible to make out, even in the original print. Fortunately, the Freemason Manly P. Hall published Kircher’s Tree with English translations in place of the Latin.

Notice that Kircher appears to have intended that the horizontal channel between the seventh Sephirah, Hod, and the eighth Sephirah, Netzach, be numbered fifteen, and that the vertical channel between the sixth Sephirah, Tiphareth, and the ninth Sephirah, Yesod, be numbered seventeen. This is not absolutely clear, but seems most probable since on Kircher’s original diagram we see the Latin text 15 Canalis reciprocus Victoriae et Honoris on the channel between Netzach and Hod, then upside down in the same channel the Latin text Canalis: 17. Because this second caption is inverted on Kircher’s diagram (but not on Hall’s translation), it was probably intended to be placed on the vertical channel between Tiphareth and Yesod.

This is the opposite of the Golden Dawn practice, where the horizontal channel between Netzach and Hod is numbered seventeenth in order from the top, and the vertical channel between Tiphareth and Yesod is numbered fifteenth (the actual Golden Dawn numbering of these channels is twenty-seven and twenty-five, because it was the Order practice to begin numbering the paths with eleven, rather than one). The Golden Dawn numbering of these two channels is more sensible than Kircher’s numbering, based on the overall numbering on the Tree, but in my opinion is still not correct.

In my book New Millennium Magic I’ve given what I think is the correct numbering of the paths. I believe the Golden Dawn made a mistake in their numbering of the lower paths of Tiphareth (based purely on a logical analysis of the structure of the paths). Mathers numbered the vertical path between Tiphareth and Yesod fifteenth in sequence, and the diagonal path between Tiphareth and Hod sixteenth. In my view these numbers should be reversed. In all other respects the Golden Dawn numbering of the pathways is correct, for this particular pattern of the Tree (it is not the only possible pattern).

Kircher’s assigned the seven traditional planets of astrology differently than their Golden Dawn assignment. From a Golden Dawn point of view, all of Kircher’s planets are incorrectly place with the exception of the Sun in Tiphareth. However, Kircher’s assignment does make a lot of good sense. In the Kabbalah, Malkuth is the bride of the son (Messiah) in Tiphareth, so it is not unreasonable to give it the Moon. Mercury is a balanced planet, so it makes sense to put it on the middle pillar of the Tree. Kircher put the two male planets Mars and Jupiter on the masculine right pillar of the Tree, and their female opposites, respectively Venus and Saturn, on the feminine left pillar of the Tree.

It may be argued that Saturn is male, not female. However from the esoteric perspective Saturn exhibits many feminine qualities. It is common in alchemy to make a sexual pairing between Mars and Venus, and also between Jupiter and Saturn.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Athanasius Kircher

Portrait of Kircher from Mundus Subterraneus, 1664
Born 2 May 1601 or 1602
Geisa, Abbacy of Fulda
Died 27 November or 28 November 1680
Rome
Nationality German
Religion Roman Catholicism (Jesuit scientist-priest)[1]

Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680) (sometimes erroneously spelled Kirchner) was a 17th century German Jesuit scholar who published around 40 works, most notably in the fields of oriental studiesgeology, and medicine. Kircher has been compared to fellow Jesuit Roger Boscovich and to Leonardo da Vinci for his enormous range of interests, and has been honoured with the title “master of a hundred arts”.[2]

Kircher was the most famous “decipherer” of hieroglyphs of his day, although most of his assumptions and “translations” in this field have since been disproved as nonsensical. However, he did make an early study of Egyptian hieroglyphs, correctly establishing the link between the ancient Egyptian language and the Coptic language, for which he has been considered the founder of Egyptology. He was also fascinated with Sinology, and wrote an encyclopedia of China, in which he noted the early presence of Nestorian Christians but also attempted to establish more tenuous links with Egypt and Christianity.

Kircher’s work with geology included studies of volcanos and fossils. One of the first people to observe microbes through a microscope, he was thus ahead of his time in proposing that the plague was caused by an infectious microorganism and in suggesting effective measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Kircher also displayed a keen interest in technology and mechanical inventions, and inventions attributed to him include a magnetic clock, various automatons and the first megaphone. The invention of the magic lantern is often misattributed to Kircher, although he did conduct a study of the principles involved in his Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae.

A scientific star in his day, towards the end of his life he was eclipsed by the rationalism of René Descartes and others. In the late 20th century, however, the aesthetic qualities of his work again began to be appreciated. One modern scholar, Alan Cutler, described Kircher as “a giant among seventeenth-century scholars”, and “one of the last thinkers who could rightfully claim all knowledge as his domain”.[3]Another scholar, Edward W. Schmidt, referred to Kircher as “the last Renaissance man“.

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