The Bodhi Tree Bookstore has grown into a flourishing landmark with its roots strongly grounded in the spiritual community.
In 1970 Melrose Avenue was a quiet, shady street lined with small, low-key businesses. In June of that year, three aerospace engineers left their careers to merge their mutual passion for books, metaphysics and mysticism into a bookstore. Of the founding members, only Fran and Stan Madson, and Elsa and Phil Thompson remain, but the spirit which gave birth to the Bodhi Tree Bookstore years ago still moves it today. In metaphysical lore, the bodhi tree is the "tree of enlightenment" under which Gautama sat in meditation before he achieved the state of grace that made him the Buddha. The original bodhi tree grew on the banks of a tributary of the Ganges and legend has it that all Buddhas became enlightened under its branches. Stan and Phil placed a young bodhi tree plant in a pot in the front window of the store in the early days of their business. There this graceful plant with heart shaped leaves flourished for several years, until it grew so large that they had to plant it. Today, at nearly three stories high, it provides shade for the bookstore's back yard, where the staff members gather to talk, read or recuperate during their breaks.
As the bodhi tree grew into glorious maturity, so did the Bodhi Tree Bookstore. At a quarter of a century, this metaphysical mecca is one of the best known and busiest philosophical bookstores in the Los Angeles area, with an extensive selection of books on everything and anything that deals with spiritual wisdom and knowledge.