- Specie: Peepul Tree or Bodhi Tree (ficus religiosa)
- Location: Robinson Road under near the Mid-levels escalator
Legend has it that the Buddha attained nirvana under a Bodhi Tree, a kind of fig tree that is actually quite common in Hong Kong. Here, the government database calls it the Peepul Tree, but its scientific name is the same – ficus religiosa.
From a distance, the species looks very much like any ordinary tree, but when you get close, its distinctive heart-shaped leaves with their long thin tail at the tip and a long stem extending from the branches are unmistakable, like this one on Robinson Road next to the mid-level escalator.
It is also the perfect time to look out for these tree now (November) because, like this one, they are now bearing fruit. The figs themselves are tiny, light pink and dotted all over its branches.
Obviously, this particular tree is a pretty young member and no doubt a shadow of the tree Buddha sat under when he reach enlightenment. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying to appreciate the specie. If you look around, particular around temples and monasteries, you might just spot your own Bodhi Tree. As the saying goes, the road to nirvana has to start somewhere -actually I just made that up.
An interesting side note is that bodhisattva, the being that the tree is named after, actually denotes a person who has reached nirvana but decides to delay his or her ascension out of compassion for others who are suffering (very loose paraphrasing).