Buddhist Symbology Part 1
One thing that non-Buddhists always notice are the distinctive symbols ‚Ä®involved with the various sects of Buddhism. We talked briefly about ‚Ä®the ‚ÄúWheel of Dharma‚Äù a while back, but that’s just the tip of the ‚Ä®iceberg. There are eight major symbols known as the ‚ÄúEight Auspicious ‚Ä®Symbols.‚Äù Let’s start by discussing one you may have already noticed: ‚Ä®the Lotus
The lotus has various symbolic meanings throughout Hinduism, and since ‚Ä®Hindu influences pervade all of Buddhism, the lotus became important ‚Ä®there too.
A lotus flower grows in the mud, its root stretching below the surface ‚Ä®of the water, the stem reaches up through the water, and the flower ‚Ä®appears to float on top of the water. This reflects symbolically the ‚Ä®growth of the soul through materialism (the mud), experience (the ‚Ä®water), and the sunshine (enlightenment/Nirvana).
The color of the lotus is also significant: ‚Ä®
White lotus = Mental and spiritual purity
Red lotus = The heart, compassion and love
Blue lotus = Wisdom and control of the senses
Pink lotus = The original historical Buddha
Purple lotus = Mysticism
The heart of a being is like an unopened lotus; when the virtues of a ‚Ä®Buddha develop, then the lotus blossoms. This is why the Buddha is ‚Ä®often depicted sitting on a blooming lotus flower.