While the mind of the individual starts out as a closed and tight centre of awareness, as it relaxes and opens, it starts to look like a water-lily in a lake, and then begins to resemble the lake itself. One is no longer an observer watching the mind from a distance. One becomes awareness immersed in awareness, like a water droplet in the depths of a lake. There is no distance in thought, there is only immersion. All minds are united and all minds are ultimately free. The droplet bursts to engulf the lake, and the ocean, and infinity.
The Bodhi-Tree is a symbolic representation of the individual’s journey to infinity. As the seed which begins tiny and hard grows open and free, so should the mind and heart. The tree is rooted in the ground as the self is rooted in matter. But the seed grows beyond the ground, as it perceives its environment, cares about it, and ultimately leaves the limitations of the body and matter behind. The branches reach towards the heavens yet the vines of the banyan reach towards the earth. Such is the state of mankind – always being pulled in two directions. One direction is freedom, ultimate liberation, and the transcendence of boundaries. The other direction is security, rootedness, comfort, and tradition – the self that will not turn away from the earth. Some people may justify behaviour by Buddhist or other ethics and ritual, but will ultimately seek comfort rather than freedom. Such people should rest peacefully at the roots of the tree and never climb it.