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Udumbara refers to the tree, flower and fruit of the ficus racemosa
October 5th, 2014
Udumbara refers to the tree, flower and fruit of the ficus racemosa.

   Because the flower remains hidden, it was originally believed that the tree did not flower at all or extremely rarely. Thus… a rare udumbara  flower, blooming only "once every three thousands years", was interpreted as heralding the advent of a cakravartin (ideal universal ruler) or a buddha.

   A reference might be used (as in the Tale of Genji, a monument of Japanese literature) to praise a ruler, e.g. saying « At last I have seen the udumbara flower… »


#Buddhism   #botanic  
Post Scriptum: if you wish to read the Tale of Genji  in English, I strongly recommend Royall Tyler's version (www.amazon.com/gp/product/014243714X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=014243714X&linkCode=as2&tag=koanmu03-20&linkId=5PU6XFT6MTNOT64E) over Edward Seidensticker's simpler rendering.
In French, René Sieffert's version is similar to Royall Tyler's, with magnificent illustrations (www.amazon.com/gp/product/2903656460/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=2903656460&linkCode=as2&tag=koanmu03-20&linkId=WWDXLY3U6HUVKJOF).