bodhi tree ［菩提樹］ (, Pali; bodai-ju): Also, bo tree. The pipal tree (also spelled the peepul tree) at Buddhagayā, India, under which Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment. In Sanskrit this variety of tree was called pippala or ashvattha. It is a tall evergreen belonging to the mulberry family that reaches thirty meters in height. Its leaves are heart-shaped with an elongated, pointed end. Because Shakyamuni attained enlightenment under this tree, Buddhists came to regard it as sacred and refer to it as the bodhi (enlightenment) tree. In early Buddhist sculptures, the bodhi tree was used in carvings depicting the events of Shakyamuni Buddha’s life to symbolize Shakyamuni and his enlightenment. At that time, no representation of the Buddha himself was made in the carvings. The Buddha was depicted symbolically as the bodhi tree, and his teachings as the wheel of the Law.