The Lotus Flower – Meaning of the Sacred Flower
The lotus flower is an important plant, especially in Asia, which is not only used for decoration. It originates from China and can be found in many countries around the world today. In addition to its great importance for culture and religion, the symbolic character of this plant is also enormous. This differs depending on the religious and cultural context. In addition, the flower is used as a natural remedy and food. The lotus flower is therefore a real all-round talent and has an important meaning in many areas of life, especially in Asia.
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What is a lotus flower?
The lotus flower, also called lotus, is a herbaceous aquatic plant that grows in ponds or lakes. Each plant has a hermaphrodite flower surrounded by shield-shaped leaves. It is pollinated by insects and grows particularly well in wind-protected and sunny places. Lotus flowers come in several colours, to which different properties are attributed. Even though different cultures give different meanings to the individual colours, they are very similar in essence.
The white lotus flower is a symbol of spiritual purity, knowledge and innocence. It also symbolises divinity and spiritual perfection. In Buddhism, it is therefore also associated with the goddess Tara. She is considered the female form of Buddha.
The delicate petals of the lotus flower are dirt-repellent. This means that despite their sometimes dirty and muddy environment, they are always clean because water beads off their surface. For this reason, the lotus flower is equated with purity.
Numerous product designers have taken advantage of this and developed surfaces, paints, varnishes and materials that have precisely this effect.
The lotus flower as a spiritual symbol
The lotus flower has many names. It is called the “sacred flower” or the “flower of life”. In addition to the properties already described, which symbolise purity and enlightenment, the lotus flower has another specialty. After sunset, the flower closes and sinks into the water. As soon as the sun rises again the next morning, the lotus flower returns in its full beauty. As a result, the lotus flower is repeatedly compared to rebirth or life after death. It is therefore a popular gift for birth, as it represents the beginning of a new life.
Lotus flower in Buddhism
In Buddhism, the lotus flower symbolises self-knowledge and is meant to encourage people to leave their comfort zone and enter life with an open mind. In this way, one should open up to the environment, to people and to life, and thus set out on the path to enlightenment. At the same time, the lotus stands for eternal, pure and spiritual life: the seeds of the holy lotus can survive for more than 1000 years.
The growth and appearance of the lotus flower also have an impressive symbolism: the closed flower represents the potential for enlightenment, while the open flower stands for full enlightenment. In Buddhism, the leaves of the plant, which seem to float on the water, are a symbol of freedom and letting go of everything worldly.
According to legend, Buddha was born on a lotus blossom, so it is a central symbol of Buddhism, the origin of God. For this reason, Buddha is often depicted on a lotus flower. The symbolism of the lotus flower includes all the virtues that are important in Buddhism and represents not least enlightenment, the goal of life in Buddhism.
Lotus flower in Hinduism
In Hinduism, the lotus flower is a symbol of beauty, fertility. Success, eternity and spirituality. Deities in temples are often depicted in connection with a lotus blossom. They hold the blossom in their hands or sit on it, as if on a divine throne.
In Hindu mythology, the lotus blossom symbolises the origin of the universe as the god Brahma emerged from it to create the world anew. The daily “awakening” of the lotus blossom from the muddy waters is compared with the rising of the earth from the primordial sea, i.e. the creation of the world.
Furthermore, the lotus also represents divine purity in Hinduism, i.e. a quality that is only attributed to gods. This is comparable to enlightenment in Buddhism. The opening lotus flower symbolises how the human soul opens itself to the divine truth.
The Lotus Flower in Yoga
Many yoga studios use the lotus flower as a symbol in brochures or on their website. This is mainly due to the already described high spiritual value of the flower. In yoga, the lotus symbolises the third eye, which stands for enlightenment. The third eye is one of seven chakras (energy centres of the body), it is located between the eyebrows and is able to recognise wisdom. The activation of the seven chakras is often compared to the opening of a lotus blossom. As the petals open, the energy of the seven chakras “blossoms”.
In yoga, there is also the so-called lotus seat, also called lotus pose, which is modelled on the shape of a lotus blossom. The legs are crossed in a similar way to cross-legged sitting, with the difference that the right foot rests on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. Ideally, the soles of the feet point upwards, the upper body is erect and the shoulders are slightly back.
The lotus position is definitely something for advanced yogis, as it requires a lot of flexibility and concentration. It is mainly taken during meditation and is meant to lead to a grounded, stable and conscious feeling.