Saturday, February 22, 2014


Photo Courtesy of Mali Workman

If you're a celebrity baby name spotter, you may have noticed that a particular name popped up twice in the past week - Bodhi. On February 12th Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green welcomed second son Bodhi Ransom to the world, while on 17th February Australian actress Theresa Palmer and husband Mark Webber welcomed son Bodhi Rain.

While some may label Bodhi as just another "bizarre name of celebrity offspring", Bodhi has actually become a fairly popular name among celebrities, taking it from a strange once-off name to an on-trend baby name on the upswing. Other than Bodhi Ransom and Bodhi Rain, Oliver Hudson has given his mum Goldie Hawn a grandson named Bodhi Hawn, and actress Amy Brenneman and husband director Brad Silberling have a Bodhi Russell. Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio also chose Bodhi as a middle name for son Luka Bodhi. And Australian celebrity couple Cameron Daddo and Allison Brae bestowed it on their daughter, Bodhi Faith.

Those who have discussed their choice of Bodhi have said that they chose it for it's spiritual meaning. Bodhi (pronounced BO-dee) is best known in the context of Buddhism. although it is also a concept in other Indian philosophies and traditions. Bodhi is the understanding possessed by Buddha regarding the nature of things. The legend is that Buddha achieved enlightenment (or Bodhi) while sitting under a large and very old sacred fig tree located in Bodh Gaya, India. This tree came to be known as the Bodhi tree, a name that is also used for any current trees that are a direct descendant of the original tree. They are planted in close proximity to every Buddhist monastery and a Bodhi tree is recognisable in religious art by its' heart shaped leaves.

The word itself comes from the Sanskrit roots of budh, meaning 'to awake, become aware, notice, know or understand' and bodha meaning 'knowledge or intelligence'. Translated to English Bodhi means "enlightenment" or "awakened".

Bodhi is an interesting name to consider. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the way it sounds, although nickname Bo is quite handsome, and I love the sentiment and symbolism behind this name. It feels like a rather zen name, and I've seen quite a few people say it makes them think of a laid back skater or surfer type dude. This impression may have been influenced by the surfer character named Bodhi played by Patrick Swayze in the 1991 movie 'Point Break', and maybe the appearance of a character called Bodhi in 'The Simpsons', who is a fourth grader interested in surfing.

One thing is for sure, there is plenty of love out there for Bodhi. Nameberry named it as the third fastest rising boy name on their site in 2013. That's for page views, not actual use, although the U.S SSA charts tells us those numbers are reflected in actual use. In 1992 - one year after 'Point Break' - Bodhi appeared on the charts for boys in position #4124. By 2010 it had entered the top 1000, and in 2012 it was positioned at #894. It will be interesting to see how much further it rose in 2013 when those figures are released in May. It's likely that the two recent celebrity births will push it even further in 2014, and may also lead to increased use for girls, which is currently quite rare.

Buddha under the Bodhi Tree


  1. Too funny! I am working on a Bodhi post! It was our top boys name for awhile.... before we had kids

  2. I can't say I'm a huge fan of this name, but I get the appeal. The rise of Bo for girls in the UK does make Bodhi seem more of a girls name.

  3. I don't love it,but I hear it all the time at the parks here in Australia