sal tree ［沙羅樹］ ( shāla; Pali sāla; shara-ju): A tree native to India and Nepal that grows to more than thirty meters in height and produces pale yellow blossoms. The sal is a deciduous tree belonging to the dipterocarp family. In India, it is a valuable source of timber, and its aromatic resin is used in religious rituals and also as a surface coating. Shakyamuni Buddha died in a sal grove in Kushinagara. According to one tradition, Shakyamuni laid himself down on a couch between twin sal trees and entered nirvana. Another account has it that there were twin sal trees on each of the four sides of the area where Shakyamuni entered nirvana. When he entered nirvana, one of each pair of trees withered. Yet another tradition says that, upon Shakyamuni’s entrance into nirvana, four twin sal trees, or eight sal trees, turned as white as cranes. For this reason, the place where Shakyamuni died is also called the crane grove.