Every ancient culture, such as the Egyptians, Mayans and Babylonians, to more recent religious traditions like Hinduism and Christianity, have had some depiction of the Tree of Life. Potentially dating back over 10,000 years ago, our oldest civilisations always had a mystical tree symbol, or literal tree, that they revered as a natural source of life.
The Mayans called it the World Tree, for Christians it’s the Tree of Knowledge, and the Assyrians – like the Egyptians – saw it as a core element in the creation of life and death. They all have some sort of divinity connection to it, as well as wisdom. After all, it’s where Buddha became enlightened, and he’s depicted eternally meditating on this spot.
Whether the Tree of Life’s depiction throughout history is mythical, spiritual or literal, about a divine creator or just a natural source of life, there is one thing that stands above all. Its symbolism of the cosmic interconnectedness of all beings, and all things.
For many of us, coconut trees are the perfect symbol of sunny beaches, bikinis and tropical paradise. But in Bali, they humbly represent the Tree of Life as well, as it is an important aspect of their culture. This is because the coconut tree is often used in their daily lives for subsistence, medicine and ritual purposes, as well as aiding in tourism.
To honour the symbolic and literal interconnectedness of the Tree of Life, futurist and social entrepreneur Roger Hamilton, the founder of Vision Villa Resort, in East Bali, explains in the following video the difference between wisdom and knowledge. This differentiation touches on Buddhist precepts, connecting it to the idea of the Tree of Life.