LOTUS

At the heart of symbolism

Lotus, flower of symbolism

(Summary)

Stylized form of the eight petal lotus

The eight petal lotus

The flower is an emblematic element of symbolism. It represents the female, passive principle of the manifestation, matching the male, active principle. The flower is comparable to the terrestrial substance fertilized by the celestial essence. An assimilation endowing the flower with a role of receptacle of the celestial influence. The blooming of the flower is an image of the appearance and development of beings and things. From the birth of the being into the terrestrial world, the symbol is extended to his rebirth into the celestial light.

The symbol of spiritual blooming

The use of flowers in general and lotus in particular is common in many traditions. From the Mediterranean to India and to China, the symbolic importance of the lotus is manifested in many ways, which are all covering the same meaning.

The lotus blossom depicts the being who has left the obscure water depths for the clarity of the full daylight, the totally accomplished being. The Buddha is often represented sitting at the centre of an eight petal lotus.

The flower calyx represents the receptacle containing everything in an undifferentiated state and where the immutable Principle flows into; the petals of the flower express the blooming of the manifestation of any thing and being described by the eight compass and intermediary points symbolised by the (eight) spokes of the cosmic wheel or the (eight) directions of the wind rose. This representation also evokes the rose and lily ones, two symbols related to the lotus in the West.

Moving from the motionless centre towards the wheel periphery in movement means to manifest oneself to the world. Conversely, going back from the restless periphery to the fixed and non manifested centre indicates the return towards the first state of being, the primeval state, the world unity.

The various traditions do nothing but illustrate this symbolic meaning in different forms.

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