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Buddhist Symbology Part 1: The Lotus

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

The lotus has various symbolic meanings throughout Hinduism, and since 
Hindu influences pervade all of Buddhism, the lotus became important 
there too.

A lotus flower grows in the mud, its root stretching below the surface 
of the water, the stem reaches up through the water, and the flower 
appears to float on top of the water. This reflects symbolically the 
growth of the soul through materialism (the mud), experience (the 
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 
Buddha develop, then the lotus blossoms. This is why the Buddha is 
often depicted sitting on a blooming lotus flower.


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