Lotus flower: what it teaches us and what is its symbolism in the different cultures of the world

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Carlos Laforet Coll

Important symbologies have been attributed to the lotus flower since ancient times, let's discover its meaning and what it teaches us

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Since ancient times it has been attributed symbolic meanings linked to luck, knowledge, purity. We are talking about the famous Lotus flower, widespread in Asia and in the south-east of the Mediterranean basin.

Let's discover its meaning in the different cultures of the world and what it teaches us. 


The lotus flower in the cultures of the world

The Ancient Egyptians mention him in the myth of the creation of the world, from his chalice the divine creator was born. While his flowers, often placed in tombs, were associated with the Sun God. 

In India, as Hans Biedermann's Encyclopedia of Symbols explains, it is an important spiritual symbol. Just think that according to Hindu mythology Brahma, creator of the world, was born from a lotus flower grown from the navel of Vishnu. 

In Buddhism, the Gautama Buddha has lotus eyes, feet and thighs. And the name of the guru who brought Buddhism to Tibet, or Padmasambhava, means "one who was born of the lotus". In particular, the red lotus flower symbolizes knowledge. It is also associated with the growth path of the soul from mud (materialism) through water (experience) to enlightenment. 

Turning to Yoga, its flowering on the head is associated with the - supreme spiritual knowledge of the flows of energy that arise in the body.

In China, the lotus is itself related to Buddhism. - Image of pure yearning - explains the Encyclopedia of Symbols, as it comes from the mud, where its roots are, but blossoms pure looking upwards.

Lotus flower: the different types and their meaning

The lotus flower can have different colors, from white to blue to red. And each of them is given different meanings.

  • The white lotus flower is usually associated with purity and transcendence. 
  • The pink lotus flower is associated with feminine energy as a softer and less edgy color.
  • The red lotus flower is associated with passion, inspiration but also, as we have said, with knowledge in the context of Tibetan Buddhism. 
  • The blue lotus flower would indicate, for Mahayana Buddhists, the potential of beings to realize their intrinsic Buddha nature. 

Lotus flower: Yoga rituals and positions

How to bring the lotus flower into your life? You can simply draw it on a sheet of paper and color it as if it were a mandala, thus practicing a sort of meditation. But also plant it in an artificial pond.

Or you can experience the famous Yoga lotus position, particularly suitable for meditating and relaxing the mind. Simply sit cross-legged with your feet near the groin area and your hands folded in your lap or resting on your knees with your palms facing up or down. The tip of the tongue should be folded back and placed on the lower palate. 

Read also:

  • Butterfly: its symbolism in the different cultures of the world and how to interpret it in everyday life
  • Tree of life: the meaning (Celtic and Kabbalah)
  • Lotus flower: history, characteristics and symbolism in various cultures
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