For the Love of Lotus

I have a real love of Lotus flowers and so do many other people. Twice in Buddhist initiations I have been given a name that includes the Lotus flower and I have recently completed a whole series of them as well as always including them in my Buddha and mandala paintings.

The history and the symbolism of the Lotus flower is really interesting, I think.


The Ancient Egyptians were connected to the blue and white Lotus flowers which were known as Seshen. They were associated with the Sun God Ra, and were symbolic of rebirth, strength and power. This symbolism was because the Lotus flower emerges from the water, follows the movement of the sun, and then closes up, returning to the water, and repeating the process the next day – rebirth.

There is a connection with many of the religions and cultures around the world such as in Ancient Greece, Indian Vedic religions, and Buddhist traditions. There are depictions showing many of the Hindu Gods standing or seated on a Lotus flower, and in the Buddhist tradition you often see the Buddha sitting on a Lotus flower.


The symbolim around the Lotus flower is that it grows from the muddy waters it’s rooted in, representing the suffering of the material world, while the lotus blossom itself, rises in beauty towards the sun, or blooming towards enlightenment and transformation. In the Buddhist tradition it is thought that without the mud of life, there can be no enlightenment. An example of this is a saying from a Tibetan monk to the author and scientist Gregg Braden, “It is in the presence of the hurt, when we lose something we cherish from our lives, the hurt teaches us the capacity to love”. So, from the ‘dirt’ or suffering, we then learn to transform ourselves towards love.

The flower itself is symbolic of being detached from the muddy waters, reminding us to detach from our ‘muddy’ environments or the things that dirty our souls as we move towards enlightenment and wisdom.

The Lotus flower is also symbolic of purity showing us the purity of our soul and as it opens one petal at a time, it shows us how we can ‘open’ to enlightenment and transform one step at a time. The yellow centre of the Lotus flower represents the absolute goal of enlightenment.

As you can see there is much symbolism around the Lotus flower and the next time you see a beautiful Lotus flower blossoming, know that there is much more to the flower than just it’s stunning beauty!