There are few flowers more stunning than a lotus in full bloom. And while there are many gorgeous flowers, none have taken on the symbolic significance of the lotus.
The lotus thrives in muddy water. The bud rises from the muck, opens to expose an exquisite bloom, drinks in the sun, and then closes to return to the dirty water at day’s end. The following day, it rises again, perfect and clean. Because of this lifecycle, it’s long been associated with purity, divinity, and rebirth.
The lotus grows in abundance in Asia, where both the Buddhists and Hindus recognize it as an important earthly symbol of desirable transcendent qualities. Also, lotus flowers growing on the Nile River were revered by the ancient Egyptians. All these cultures use it in their religious art and architecture.
In Buddhism, it’s a sign of purity of speech, body, and mind. It’s also a metaphor for a person’s path in life. We start as seeds in the mud, and with religious zeal, we emerge from the dirty water leaving attachment behind. When a person “blooms,” and is fully awakened, Nirvana is reached.
The Hindu Faith assigns it a more complex role, but primarily it represents the concepts of creation and awakening.
Because the lotus closes at night, sinks underwater, and re-emerges to bloom the following day, the ancient Egyptians saw it as a natural symbol of the sun and creation.
Flowers and flower symbolism have been a part of cultures since antiquity. The lotus can be just a lovely flower, but for many, it’s a sign of faith.