August 17, 2005

Sacred Sri Lanka tree out of the woods in Taiwan

TAIPEI (Reuters) - A sapling from a Sri Lankan bodhi tree
deeply revered by Buddhists has at last made it into Taiwan
after being rejected by quarantine authorities for fear of

The sapling from the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi, believed to be
descended from the bodhi tree under which Buddha attained
enlightenment, was detained at customs due to regulations
forbidding imports of Sri Lanka bodhi trees with roots.

Taiwan's Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society, which
received the sapling as a gift from the Sri Lankan government,
said it was treated by a renowned tree surgeon, flown overseas
and then sent back to Taiwan for a second try.

"The treatment was acceptable to the Bureau of
Agriculture," said Ling Jiou Mountain spokeswoman Jean Chiou.
"It went to Hong Kong and then came in successfully."

Chiou said the sapling, which was escorted by a Sri Lankan
member of parliament and two monks, is scheduled to be planted
on Sunday at a ceremony with Vice President Annette Lu in

The Ling Jiou Mountain Society was given the saplings after
its founder received an award from Sri Lanka for advancement of