The Soka Bodhi Tree Garden (SBTG) was envisaged by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda as a centre for exchange of friendship and a training ground through peace, culture & education activities. This garden, spread over nearly 162 acres, was inaugurated on September 12,1993. It lies 60 km southwest of New Delhi, off the Jaipur highway, in the state of Haryana.
Since its opening, almost 100,000 people have visited the garden, which is reminiscent of the verdant Jetavana Grove described in the Lotus Sutra.
Since its opening, over 4,000 Bodhi trees have been planted in the SBTG. Of the 4,000 Bodhi trees in the garden, nearly 1,700 Bodhi trees have been named by SGI President Ikeda.
Bodhi trees have been planted in separate areas for all the states of India; all the prefectures of Japan; various SGI countries of the world; for important events; in memory of dignitaries from around the world with whom Ikeda Sensei has forged friendships. For instance, there are Bodhi trees for Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Soka University, Soka University of America and Hiroshima.
SBTG has an open air theatre with a seating capacity of about 300 people, an auditorium with a capacity of more than 1000 people and Ikeda Friendship Centre which houses writings and pictures taken by President Ikeda and many important films showcasing the growth of Soka movement around the globe.
The low-lying area near the auditorium was landscaped to provide space for recreational activities. The main walkway near the auditorium represents the flow of an undulating river, and a series of stepping stones leads the way down and across grassy knolls. Four pavilions — symbolizing the four elements earth, water, fire and air — with matching roof tiles and benches have been built in four zones to provide shelter from sun and rain. Stone benches in different shapes and formations dot the garden, giving visitors spaces to rest and admire the greenery. Peacocks, pigeons, geese, rabbits, parrots and kingfisher frequent the garden. With its open fields, dense foliage and water bodies, the SBTG is a haven for migratory birds round the year.
Training ground for fostering capable people
In his message on the inauguration of the Soka Bodhi Tree Garden, President Ikeda said, “I am positive that from among those who will come to visit this garden in the future… when the Bodhi trees that are saplings now have grown tall and robust and are luxuriant with fresh green leaves, there will emerge great leaders. I am also confident that this Bodhi Tree Garden will become a training ground for capable people. It will be a place where leaders from various fields around the world will come to meet in order to cultivate and develop themselves, inspiring and stimulating each other’s growth…”
Since 1995, BSG has been holding its meetings, cultural festivals and training programs at SBTG. In 2005, family festivals were organized, opening the garden to the families and guests of members for the first time. From time to time, BSG members can visit the garden along with family and friends.
President Ikeda further says, “May the “tree of happiness”, the “tree of enlightenment” and the “tree of human revolution” of each one of you flourish and grow as vigorously as the Bodhi tree in this garden.”
World Peace Monument
For the purposes of achieving lasting world peace, SGI President Ikeda proposed the construction of World Peace Monument in the heart of the Ikeda peace garden being created within the Soka Bodhi Tree Garden.
In May 2010 President Ikeda sent a calligraphy “Sekai Heiwa no Hi” (World Peace Monument) and a poem. World Peace monument was unveiled on 16th January 2011 by Mr. Oba, General Director, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and Mrs. Kayoko Asano, SGI Women’s Leader. On this occasion, Bodhi trees of the three presidents of Soka Gakkai (Mr. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Mr. Josei Toda and Mr. Daisaku Ikeda) were also planted around this monument.
World Peace Monument is erected on an elevated circular platform, about 2.5 metres above the ground and weighs around 12 tons. Built of Himalayan blue granite, it is a 5 feet high, 11 feet wide and 1 feet thick and has Japanese calligraphy of ‘Monument of World Peace’ engraved in Ikeda Sensei’s handwriting in Japanese, along with his signature on one side and the poem for world peace monument dedicated by Ikeda Sensei on the other side. A beautiful pillar, 4.5 meters tall made of imperial white granite, is erected next to the monument. It has been built right in the center of the Ikeda Peace garden which is spread across 6.5 acres.