"The atmosphere created by the Mahabodhi Temple is so potent it’s as if you fall into a trance. Here you’ll find the vajra seat (vajra asana, also known as the Diamond Seat) where, after many years of searching for the truth and six excruciating years of penance by the banks of the Niranjana River, Siddhartha finally discovered the Middle Path and achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree.
The bodhi tree is important to Buddhists because it is a symbol of enlightenment. In spite of an abundance of trees, caves, and temples in the area, it was in the shade of a bodhi tree that Siddhartha chose to sit, and it was also there that he crushed his final defilements to achieve enlightenment and become the liberator of the Three Worlds. It is believed that all the one thousand buddhas of this fortunate aeon will achieve enlightenment right on this very same spot. All of which means that showing respect for the bodhi tree is not in any way the same as worshipping the spirit of a tree like a shaman, but rather
- Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche