Lotus Flower Symbolism
Symbolic Meaning of Lotus Flower
If you didn't already know, the lotus is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols, and the lotus flower is a very important symbol of Buddhist teaching.
Here is a good explanation of the symbolism of the lotus flower in Buddhist teachings.
The roots of a lotus flower are situated in the mud or Earth if you will, the stem of the lotus grows up through the water, and the beautifull scented lotus flower is above the water receiving needed sunlight.
The pattern of growth of the lotus symbolizes the progress of the human soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.
Sure there are other flowers which grow in a similar way, only the lotus flower can regularly rise 8 to 12 inches above the surface of the water.
The lotus flower is one of the The Buddhist tradition's most recognized symbols, and the lotus appears in a lot of Buddhist art.
Here are some descriptions of the different colors that lotus flowers come in, these descriptions also tell you what each colored lotus flower symbolizes.
White Lotus Flower
This represents the state of spiritual perfection and total mental purity. It is associated with the White Tara and proclaims her perfect nature, a quality which is reinforced by the color of her body.
Pink Lotus Flower
This the supreme lotus, generally reserved for the highest deity. Thus naturally it is associated with the Great Buddha himself.
Red Lotus Flower
This signifies the original nature and purity of the heart. It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion and all other qualities of the heart. It is the flower of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.
Blue Lotus Flower
This is a symbol of the victory of the spirit over the senses, and signifies the wisdom of knowledge. Not surprisingly, it is the preferred flower of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom.
From ancient times the lotus has been a divine symbol in Asian traditions representing the virtues of sexual purity and non-attachment.
Hindus revere it with the divinities Vishnu and Lakshmi often portrayed on a pink lotus in iconography. In the representation of Vishnu as Padmanabha (Lotus navel), a lotus issues from his navel with Brahma on it. Goddess Sarasvati is portrayed on a white-colored lotus.
Often used as an example of divine beauty, Vishnu is often described as the 'Lotus-Eyed One'. Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. In Hindu iconography, other deities, like Ganga and Ganesha are often depicted with lotus flowers as their seats.
The lotus plant is cited extensively within Puranic and Vedic literature, for example:
One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus is untouched by water.
Bhagavad Gita 5.10:
In Chinese culture Confucian scholar Zhou Dunyi wrote:
I love the lotus because while growing from mud, it is unstained.