Monday, January 26, 2009

The Buddhist Lotus Symbol

In Buddhism the lotus flower is one of the most poignant representations of Buddhist teachings and is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols. The lotus flower has a strong pleasant odor and is the only water dwelling plant to regularly rise eight to twelve inches above the surface. This flower has inspired many people through out many cultures, it is small, yet strong, carring deep rooted symbolism.

The Lotus is Buddhism's best recognized motif it is used in all kinds of Buddhist art across all Buddhist cultures. Scrolling lotuses often embellish Buddhist textiles, ceramics and architecture. They can also be found as part of the many symbols, where the number of pedals is of great importance.

The growth pattern of a lotus flower signify the progress of the soul. The roots of a lotus flower grow from the primeval mud of materialism, the stem then grows up through the waters of experience, where it lies pristinely above the water, and basks in the bright sunshine of enlightenment.

According to scholars, "in esoteric Buddhism, the heart of the being is like an unopened lotus: when the virtues of the Buddha develop therein, the lotus blossoms; that is why the Buddha sits on a lotus bloom." Almost every important Buddhist deity can be associated in some way with the lotus, either being seated upon a lotus in full bloom or holding one in their hands. Some images of standing Buddhas will go as far as to have each foot rests on a separate lotus.

Finally the color of the lotus is as important to the symbolism associated with it. The white Lotus represents a state of spiritual perfection and total mental purity. It is associated with the White Tara who will proclaim her perfect nature, a quality which is reinforced by the color of her body. Pink is the supreme lotus, mostly reserved for the highest deity. Naturally it is associated with the Great Buddha himself. Red 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. The blue Lotus is a symbol of the victory of the spirit over the senses, and signifies the wisdom of knowledge. It is the preferred flower of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom.

By: Janis Mclellan

Janis resides in western Canada, among the mountains where she studies the Buddhist religion and practices reiki healing. Janis loves making Buddhist t-shirts, gifts and apparel to spread the knowledge of enlightenment. All of the images used on the products are hand drawn with high quality graphics and historical accuracy a priority. Visit her website at buddhistbackground.blogspot.com

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