The Lotus

The feeling that comes with a close examination of the Lotus plant as it emerges through the dirty and often murky waters paints an exquisite picture that can only further exemplify the flowers’ beauty, purity and even rebirth. These are the attributes that have contributed to the use of the flower in various cultures and religions as a symbol for beauty and purity. This article discusses these uses in detail.

Buddhist Context

The Lotus flower was used extensively in Buddhism to signify renewal, spiritual awakening and enlightenment. It was considered a perfect example of how humans should live in purity because a lotus flow would emerge from dirty water while spotless and clean. The idea of enlightenment comes in when comparing with the flowers daily upward thrusts to break through the water surface and emerge to be seen. As is the case with Egyptian mythology, the symbol, in Buddhism, is synonymous with the concept of rebirth, beauty, purity and renewal. As a result, the symbol was often depicted with the image of the Buddha atop it, in an open manifestation of the symbol’s meaning.

the-lotus2Further, each color of the Lotus plant was construed to refer to different meanings. For instance, the blue lotus flower symbol was always depicted as being partially open and the center of the flower would not be, therefore, visible to scrutiny. This represented the triumph of the spirit over (but not necessarily in conflict with) that of insight, knowledge and understanding. The white lotus flower symbol, on the other hand, simplified awakening, spiritual perfection and purity. The white lotus flower s also considered the womb of the world.

Further, the purple lotus was depicted as open or as a bud and construed to represent the eight fold noble path to enlightening. Notably, the pink lotus was said to represent the Buddha himself. In some instances, occurrences and usage of the red lotus point to romance, love, empathy and related feelings.

Egyptian Context

In the ancient Egypt, two varieties of the Lotus flower were predominant. These were the white and blue flowers. Although the latter variety was actually a water lily (scientifically), it still was considered a lotus plant. In the ensuing years of various civilizations, the pink lotus flower was also introduced. However, the blue lotus flow is commonly evident in Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Ostensibly, the Lotus flower symbolized rebirth in the Egyptian religious lore. This can be seen by the fact that the plant would retreat back to water (get submerged) at night and emerge with unrivaled newness when the sun comes up the next day. This was also likened to the movement of the sun which would follow the same trend of disappearing at night and only coming up in the morning. The lotus, therefore began to be used a symbol of the Sun god, rebirth and creation.

Further, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, it was postulated that anything that had association with birth could also have something to do with death. As a result, the Lotus flower symbol became so common in Egyptian symbolism that it was used to spells that would transform the dead, through resurrection, for them to live thereafter as the lotus plant.

Hinduism Context

As is with the case with the use of the lotus flow within the Buddhist and Egyptian contexts, Hinduism heavily used the lotus flower symbol in its rich array of symbols. The flower represented purity, beauty, eternity, and spiritual progress. The mostly observable lotus flower variety in Hinduism is the white flower. Various goddesses are also associated with the flower symbol. These are: Laxmi (prosperity goddess often depicted as seating on a completely opened up white lotus flower), Brahma (the god credited with creation in Hinduism was often depicted as coming forth from the lotus flower sent forth by the Lord Vishnu).


In conclusion, therefore, the chief attribute that makes the lotus flower to be used across a range of cultures a religious contexts emanate from the ability of the lotus to emerge each day from under dirty and murky waters. The state of water notwithstanding, the lotus’ beauty and sense of purity is unrivalled, unaffected and unhindered. This is attributable to the quest for purity and spiritual enlightenment that one should possess regardless of their backgrounds.

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