November 7, 2019

Throwback Thursday: The Bodhi Tree

Nepal March, 1988

In this land, laid barren for the immediate need for firewood, occasionally there’s a beautiful, old tree left untouched for hundred of years. I asked our guide why this one still stood. “It’s scared of course. It’s the tree Buddha sat under.” At first glance, it didn’t look like a Ficus religiosa, and Buddha didn’t sit under this particular “tree of awakening” in Nepal, but Mr. Chetri’s word was always close enough for me.

What was most curious about this scene was this: despite survival being the first-order human instinct in this kingdom-of-the-cold, respect for this one tree was actually greater. To the locals, someone-they’ll-probably-never-know’s warm feeling of awakening was more important than them avoiding frostbite.

And strangely, 1,000 years from now—after all the tourists have trampled the Himalayas to nubs and left the world’s tallest mountains of trash in their stead—this tree will likely still be standing.

Read more Throwback Thursday stories.

Learn how this photo was copied from a 35mm Kodachrome slide with a Moment 10x Macro lens and an iPhone.

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