Monday, August 3, 2015

The Meaning of the Lotus Flower in Buddhism

The lotus flower represents one symbol of fortune in Buddhism. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

The second meaning, which is related to the first is purification. It resembles the purifying of the spirit which is born into murkiness. The third meaning refers to faithfulness. Those who are working to rise above the muddy waters will need to be faithful followers.

The color bears importance in the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism. A white lotus flower refers to purity of the mind and the spirit. If a lotus flower is red, it refers to compassion and love. The blue lotus flower refers to the common sense; it uses wisdom and logic to create enlightenment. The pink lotus flower represents the history of Buddha and the historical legends of the Buddha. A purple lotus flower speaks of spirituality and mysticism. Finally, the gold lotus flower represents all achievement of all enlightenment, especially in the Buddha.

The stage of growth the lotus flower is in represents a different stage of enlightenment. A closed lotus flower represents the time before a Buddhist follower found Buddha or enlightenment. A lotus flower fully bloomed and open represents full enlightenment and self-awareness.

The mud represents an importance in the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism. All humans are born in a world where there is suffering. This suffering is a vital part of the human experience; it makes us stronger and teaches us to resist the temptation of evil. When we banish evil thoughts from our mind we are able to break free of the muddy water and become one with the Buddha. The mud shows us who we are and teaches us to choose the right path over the easy one.

Finally, the lotus flower represents rebirth, both in a figurative and a literal sense. The rebirth can be a change of ideas, an acceptance of Buddha where there once was none, the dawn after one’s darkest day, a renaissance of beliefs or the ability to see past wrongs. In a literal sense, the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism represents rebirth as a reincarnation, such as in the Buddhist religion, when a soul leaves this world in its present form to be reborn in another.


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87 Responses to “The Meaning of the Lotus Flower in Buddhism”
  1. This is a very good post on the meaning of the Lotus flower, which is not only important to Buddhism but also to Hinduism (I am not sure about the jain and Sikh religions, though).

    I think that maybe the first sentence where you state “a symbol of fortune,” can be clarified just a little bit, because fortune is often associated with prosperity or abundance (especially when associated with the Goddess lakshmi), so that one should not mistake the Lotus flower as being a symbol of material wealth.

    Also, your readers might be interested to know that when Buddhist go to make merit at a temple (at least Thai Buddhists in the Therevada tradtion), they will “thawai” (make an offering) of Lotus blossoms (along with incense and candles) to the images of the Buddha.

    Also, and I don’t know if there is any truth to this or not, but I have heard that when the hands are placed together in the Namaste gesture, that they are supposed to represent a closed lostus blossom. Again, I don’t know if that is true or not, but if it is fictional, it is at least nice to believe, right? :)

  2. Kolleen says:

    I LOVE this!!!
    I am getting the purple full bloomed lotus tattooed on my left forearm.
    This is a GREAT understanding of Buddhism and the lotus how it is related.

  3. young365 says:

    that was great for my hw! Thanks!!!

  4. Sarah says:

    My older brother is dying of lung cancer – literally we have weeks left. He has been practicing Buddhism for a few years. I want to get a tattoo in memory of him, and was thinking of the red lotus flower. He is everything to me. Up until a few years ago, I was a practicing Methodist, but have kind of fallen. I have been amazed at the calm I feel when reading about Buddhist death rituals. Anyone have any thoughts?

  5. miknot says:

    Thank you for this I am having a meditating buddha tattooed on my foot and was looking for a meaning of colours for the lotus flower thank you again by the way I chose blue

  6. Bright Spark says:

    I use symbols to connect with my sub/unconscious. I accept the prompt from whereever it comes, a stork flew by and so I researched the symbolism of that. Have just finished reading a wonderful book “The Red Tent”, I am a small-scale follower of the wisdom of Buddha, and I love the river Nile, so in this book the blue lotus was a source of comfort. Today I took the blue lotus as my symbol to reach within myself.

    I was mightily pleased by what I found on your site. I love the symbolism of the sticky mud that represents suffering – yes I suffer (need to sell our house in time of economic crisis and look after mother with Alzheimers) – and this pure, scented, wild lily of the Nile rises fresh from the murk and gloom each day, to open its petals to the sun, take in light (enlighenment) and out of murk comes a thing of purity, beauty, grace, and fortune.

    Rebirth and spiritual reincarnation are genuinely what I seek, not in the next life, but this one. I leave the Christian culture behind me (the murk) and open to MY path.

    Also noted the faithfulness aspect. Yep, need to reflect on how important my meditation practice is to my ongoing development.

    thank you for the lovely site….. what about a photo of a blue lotus bloom?

  7. admin says:

    Hi Bright Spark,

    Thanks for the kind words. We are currently working on a gallery of inspiring images. I will make sure to add your request for a blue lotus bloom in the gallery.


  8. Bright Spark says:

    Hi again,
    Inspiring images….. you should see my journal. Magic, flying carpets for transporting myself to better spaces; pomegranite is a favorite symbol of mine, also stork…. and when I am in a mess, I google pics of tangled wires. You should see just how tangled wires in some parts of the world can be. A picture is worth a 1000 words, even 10,000 as it can illustrate a concept and is so easily accepted by the mind.

    Have printed your lotus flower data out, and googled some inspiring blue lotus blooms and stuck them into my journal and made a separate card of same to keep close while I meditate.

    I look for symbols with pleasure and find the Universe does communicate big concepts to me this way. Not long ago I heard a fox barking outside my window, so researched meaning of fox – very pertinant to me at the time. I am dealing with my mother’s Alzheimers right now and note how appropriate your interpretation of lotus flower is for my situation.

    Be well.

  9. Hue Thien says:

    Thank you for all your comments, we have not met but I loved reading your knowledge on Buddhism.
    I’ve recently had the pleasure of going to a Buddhist retreat in Birmingham, it is still running and will return this Saturday to carry on our love of truth.
    I feel its best to love deeply and contently and yes life has been murky for I but we can all see pass these errors. Please don’t give up.
    I love trying and studying for the pure truth needing to feel I have reached it like our lotus flower has given me a great sense of release.
    I’ll share with you what I saw during my visions using calm, peaceful meditation, it was rocky then a white line whispered along the bottom , I was filled with so much red that when the Master asked us to let go and open our eyes I had to try and gradually I managed to let the outside light in again. IT was intense but not scary.
    When the time was right I continued our peaceful meditation and saw a green silky line, then soothing yellow, and white fluffy clouds on top then lovely orange swirls of love, It feels blissful.
    Please let us not worry about our ills because we all love even during fear of the unknown,
    Buddha bless us with your mighty rays of love, all of us have and all the Holy men sent to us really care deeply for us.
    We will rest our souls always
    Thank you for reading and sharing with me your insights.

  10. Kirsty says:

    This is a great description of the Lotus Flower re Buddhism. I just had a purple lotus flower placed on the back of my leg. For me it represents a year of life just experienced anew, as this time last year I was in hospital for 3 months having 5 life-saving operations. My lotus flower tattoo represents to me spirituality, rebirth and belief in the the self and strength of life.

  11. Stacy says:

    Thank you for the enlightenment and education of meanings of lotus colors but please understand to all of you who are getting tattoos of a spirtual symbol of Buddhism….it is well defined that anything below the waist is not pure and should never have a spiritual/religious symbol placed on any part of your body lower than your waste. It defiles the spirituality and meaning. Namaste

  12. Lela Laeger says:

    This is very attention-grabbing, You’re an excessively skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and stay up for looking for extra of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks

  13. Nurturing the Divine says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post on the meaning of the Lotus. The lotus is such a sacred and powerful image. When I started my new business selling Tibetan singing bowls, I wanted to find a logo that represented my new life. That is why I chose the name Nurturing the Divine with the flowering lotus for my logo. It represents my rebirth into this new chapter of my life. Namaste.

  14. Thanks for the color meanings – the lotus flower has been appearing in my yoga and meditation inspired art work – in an image I just completed the lotus was golden – so now I have a clearer reference. you can check the image out on my web page Bravely Playful Creations. Namaste. C.

  15. corner shelf says:

    Thanks for finally writing about >The Meaning of the Lotus Flower in Buddhism | Buddhists.

    org <Loved it!

  16. Amun-Ra says:

    Do not folly your minds with tatooing your body. This enligthenment is meant for the eternal soul, not to be scarred onto the earthly body. The purpose of tatooing oneself with religious entities or pieces is entirely purposeless. It seems like a way of impressing others, and that is fundamentally wrong. And that is the truth.

  17. JadeGoddess says:

    I love this representation of the lotus meaning…


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