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Lotus, The Strength of a Symbol
Posted by: riverhousebill ()
Date: May 24, 2017 09:05AM

Lotus, The Strength of a Symbol

Might be the reson someone is down on this plant
Might conlict with some gods?
beats me?
I know in europe people were paid in early days to trample flowers.

By Biba Vilayleck

“Like the lotus which attaches itself to neither the water nor the mud, the wise man attaches himself neither to sensual pleasures nor to the world”. -Suttanipatta

The lotus is a very good example of the way that man de-pends on Nature not only for his sustenance but also for elements of his dreams, aspirations and beliefs. Man invents nothing, his imagination is restricted to his environment but his genius is to use it to survive and to dream. A sacred plant in Egypt and in Japan, the lotus is also profane, an everyday plant a plant one can eat, drink and use to care for oneself. Its importance is such that one cannot give it a quick glance or a summary. We speak of Laos knowing that in all the indo-Malaysian zone, this complex plant is at the same time a food, a medicine, a flower of dreams and of the law.

The Words to Say It
The name lotus as used by Buddhist texts belongs to two different genera of the botanical family nymphaeceae : the Indian lotus, Nelumbo nucifera, originally from equatorial Asia, (but arriving in Egypt about the time of the Persian con- quest), and the Egyptian lotus, Nymphaea lotus, nenuphar, which has spread all over the world. Their name indicates their geographical situation. Nelumbo is one of the names of the flower in Sri Lanka. Nymphea comes from the Greek and nenuphar from Arabic and from the Persian (nanophars ‘the beautiful’) As for the name lotus, it is of uncertain origin in ancient Greece it meant several plants of which one ate the seeds. In Laos, one differentiates between two flowers called boua. But the Indian Lotus or sacred lotus is sometimes called boualouang (royal lotus) and the nenuphar is called bouanyou bouangeun, (small lotus or silver lotus).

The two plants are perennial aquatic herbs whose rhizomes are attached to the bottom of lakes and ponds. The leaves of the nenuphar lie on the surface, they are flat with regular notches, rounded and split. Those of the lotus rise up out of the water at the end of a rather complex process of devel- opment. “The first tiny leaves remain in the water; the sec- ond, more important leaves, float on the surface and then, as full-blown leaves, grow higher until the size of the petiole, bristling with plumes… after this the small, thin, dark green leaf with a bare petiole appears, this is the final leaf and it is then that the rhizome is harvested.” (Metailie)
In the same way, the flowers of the nenuphar lie on the surface of the water while the lotus flowers rise above the surface. As a general rule the flower of the lotus is bigger than that of the nenuphar, its petals are larger and rounded while those of the nenuphar are more pointed and narrow, attached in a spiral. At the centre of the lotus flower, a large fruit develops in the shape of a closed cone which contains the hard seeds, like nuts, whose germinating power can last for centuries. The fruit of the nenuphar ripens under the water. Lotus flowers are white or pink while nenuphars are white, pink, yellow or blue.

Lotus or nenuphar, this beautiful and complex flower, which takes root in still water, carries a rich and powerful symbolism everywhere it grows.

The Symbol
The lotus seems to have first been considered as a symbol of fertility. It is life, fecundity, because it is rooted in the water and grows towards the sun. As well, the way the seed ripens in the fruit suggests analogies with human reproduction. In Egyptian iconography, the sun bursts from the open blossom. It is the archetypal vulva.
In Hinduism as in Buddhism, the lotus is associated with the birth of divine beings. Brahma was born by a lotus issuing from the navel of Vishnu sleeping on the primordial waters. Lakshmi, goddess of fertility gave her name to the lotus. She is sometimes confused with Mahamaya, the mother of Buddha, because the lotus was adopted by Buddhists as the symbol of the conception and birth of the sage, conceived when a white elephant touched the queen, his mother, with a white lotus.
This symbolism is also found at a linguistic level in several languages – in China it is used specifically for the vulva and a courtesan is called golden lotus. In Cambodia in the language of magic, lotus flower means a fetus. In Laos, on the other hand, the bud of the flower that opens and closes is compared to a phallus. (Archaimbault)
In India, flowers in general and the lotus in particular are symbols of the spiritual accomplishment of a being, because of the obscurity associated with deeper water up to the flowering in the full light of the upper water. Thus the lotus represents the stages of spiritual progress. During meditation in the lotus position, cosmic energy rises along subtle centres of the body named chakras (wheels) or padma (lotus) to reach the top of the head and enlightenment. The basic points of this spiritual journey are represented by lotuses with different numbers of petals.
The lotus is equally a climatic symbol, the numerous petals suggesting the cyclical nature of theof seasons and, further that the seedpod, the open flower and the bud represent the past, present and future. In Buddhism, the lotus represents purity because its flower rises above the vase like the Enlightened One above the world.

“Like the lotus which attaches itself to neither the water nor the mud, the wise man attaches himself neither to sensual pleasures nor to the world.”

Actually, the metaphor expands to be that the lotus is the Buddha. In the original iconography the lotus was only the representation of Enlightenment; later it came to be the throne and to be an enduring element of Buddhist architecture and religious decoration. The lotus is more than a flower, it is evidence of the divine.

Carrying such powerful symbolism, the lotus has a very special place in the Buddhist religion as it is reserved exclusively to pay homage to the Enlightened One. In Laos it is not arranged like other flowers in various complicated ways and the style that ranges a number of petals around the base of the bud is considered heretical by the old people because the offered flower should not be transformed or even smelled. The Lotus is never used in the flower arrangements for the ceremonial soukhouane (baci) trays nor in the maakbeng. It is placed on the altar dedicated to Buddha in the temple or in the home. It is also sometimes held by a young man who is on his way to being ordained. It is offered as it is picked, a plain bud at the end of a long stem with no leaves. It is closer to being a symbol than a flower, an abstraction which shows its mystical potential. Other flowers that are treated as objects do not have the same presence as the lotus— more than a flower, the lotus is a cosmic symbol. As such it leads one along the path to Enlightenment: the Saddharma-pundarika-sutra, the “Lotus Sutra”, and “Lotus of the Law of Goodness” are canonical texts containing the fundamental teachings of Buddhism and the numerous ways to reach Enlightenment. It should be noted that the water jars containing lotus flowers that one sees more and more in front of houses in Laos, have nothing to do with religion, but are a Chinese tradition in which water is necessary at the front of the house to ward off evil spirits who try to enter the house.

In the continuity of the religion, the lotus is a fundamental element of religious art that can be seen in Laos and in neighboring countries. Figurative or stylized, it is omnipresent in architecture and statuary, in frescoes and bas-reliefs, in decorative motifs. In temples as monumental as That Luang or more modest, there are statues of Buddha reclining on an open lotus. As a bud, the lotus rhythmically outlines the buildings, the staircases, the angles at the corners. The life of the Buddha is told along the walls of the temples, it plays out in a legendary world in the midst of imaginary nature where only the tree of knowledge, (Ficus religiosa) and the lotus are to be found. Stylised, metamor- phosed into vines and ferns, the flower runs along columns, on the portals and windows of the temples. Even religious objects themselves seem to follow the form of a lotus, that of the bud both closed and open: the bay sema, the stone which marks the sacred space, the monks’ prayer screen, and the maak beng, the conical floral arrangement. If in Laos, art is basically religious, it is not the same in China, for example, where the representation of flowers is done according to precise aesthetic criteria and that of the lotus is among the most beautiful of these.

Gastronomic Uses
Nonetheless, the lotus, which one would think would be reserved for religion, has a number of nonreligious uses as well as the Chinese saying goes. “With a lotus pond at one’s house, no worry in the bad years.”, because this plant is also a legume. The rhizome of the Indian lotus (hack boua) can be eaten raw, but it is very bland and is usually made into a sour salad (tam som). Boiled, it is dipped in a sauce as an appetizer, after cooking in sugar it makes a refreshing black drink (nam houa boua) which is sold by street vendors, and in China a starch is extracted to make a New Years cake. The stems of the nenuphar (sayboua) are used in stir-fries and soups; cut into slices and dried in the sun they are a dried legume. The seeds are mainly used as food. In Laos they are eaten raw after they have been peeled but our neighbors in Vietnam make candy with them, and the Chinese boil and roast them. Many teas of the region are flavoured with lotus petals or stamens. And lastly, the large leaves of the lotus are used sometimes to wrap food, in particular for certain cakes of sticky rice, which take on the flavor of the leaves.

Medicinal Uses
In traditional medicine, the lotus is considered a calmative plant, but the origin of its name is perhaps not unfamiliar in this usage. In fact, in the Odyssey, Ulysses meets the Lotus Eaters who make a forgetfulness potion and the name lotus remains associated with sweet dreams. Again today, when we buy lotus seeds, the shopkeeper will say that you will havea good sleep. The seeds also have a tonic and revitalizing effect. Nevertheless, the botanist Petelot who visited Indochina in the 1930”s made note of some surprising uses: “The seeds are fortifying, a sovereign remedy for dysentery, nocturnal emissions, erotic dreams, …. they diminish the frequency of erections, but increase the quality of the sperm…. the fruit in a decoction is known to help and lessen urinary emissions.”

In Modern Times
If we go back to the sacred texts we find the following passage from the Bhagavad Gita:
“Whoever dedicates his efforts to the Supreme Being by removing all self interest is not touched by sin just as the lotus leaf is not affected by water.”

Men of that era had already noticed these water-repellent properties, now being studied by researchers for possible industrial applications, particularly in aeronautics. The lotus is also popular plant in the west because of a fascination for the Orient and its symbols, in decoration (spas) foods, (tea) and even cosmetics, with one brand offering a ‘nirvana se- rum !’ And we cannot forget the song ‘Oh, Dok boua thong’ (Oh, golden lotus). This melody, dear to the hearts of Lao people, brings us to a close.

The words are not entirely clear, but Kham On Keopraseuth observes “The metaphor of the existential path leading through solitude of the world to attain the supreme consciousness….’’

When I pick you and smell your fragrance
I will love you with all my soul
I will put you into a cup of gold
I will never let you wilt nor wither.

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Re: Lotus, The Strength of a Symbol
Posted by: Tai ()
Date: May 31, 2017 11:24PM

Thanks for the post.
It says the indian rhizome can be eaten raw.
I will look into that.

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Re: Lotus, The Strength of a Symbol
Posted by: riverhousebill ()
Date: June 01, 2017 04:34AM

Lotus Flower Symbolism
Blue Lotus Flower
White Lotus Flower
Pink Lotus Flower

Lotus Flower Meaning and Symbolisms

Find out about the Meanings associated with the Lotus Flower

Anybody who has ever observed a lotus flower emerging from a murky pond cannot fail to see the beauty of this exquisite plant.

The flower always looks so clean and pure against the background of the dirty pond.

Because of this the lotus flower has come to be associated with purity and beauty in the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism respectively; the ancient Egyptians scholars observed that in the night-time the lotus closed its flowers and sank into the water, and came up with a different association with the flower related to rebirth and the Sun; in actual fact the Lotus slowly emerges from a pond over a three day period and then blooms in the morning until mid-afternoon.

It can therefore be assumed that the lotus flower meaning is different between cultures, though in fact they share many similarities.

I would like to explain how some of these associations came about, and I will therefore split up this article into three main sections, based upon the three main groups, that is to say that of the ancient Egyptians, the Buddhists, and Hinduism.

Meaning of the Lotus Flower to the Ancient Egyptians

Anybody who has taken a look at Egyptian culture cannot fail to have noticed the significance of the meaning of the Lotus flower in their culture.

In ancient Egypt there were two main types of lotus that grew, the white, and the blue (scientifically a waterlily, but symbolically a lotus). Further to this another type, the pink lotus flower was introduced into Egypt sometime during the late period of their civilization. If one is to observe the many hieroglyphics, it is easy to see that the blue Lotus flower is the most commonly portrayed.

This Egyptian artwork shows the Priest Nebsini holding a blue lotus flower

As mentioned in the introduction above about the meanings of the lotus flower, this plant is known to be associated with rebirth. This is a consequence of it supposedly retracting into the water at the night, and emerging a fresh in the Sun the next day (see the introduction for how a lotus plant actually comes into bloom). The Egyptians therefore associated the lotus flower with the sun which also disappeared in the night, only to re-emerge in the morning. Therefore the lotus came to symbolize the Sun and the creation. In many hieroglyphics works the lotus is depicted as emerging from Nun (the primordial water) bearing the Sun God.

As something that is associated with rebirth, it is no surprise that the lotus flower is also associated with death, and the famous Egyptian book of the dead is known to include spells that are able to transform a person into a lotus, thus allowing for resurrection.

Another interesting fact about the lotus flower meaning to the Egyptians was the way that it was used as a symbol for the unification of the two Egyptian kingdoms, that is to say the bonding of upper and lower Egypt. For a long time the lotus had been used in the hieroglyphics and art of upper Egypt, whereas in lower Egypt the Papyrus plant was notably in abundance. Therefore pictures of lotus and Papyrus that had grown up together and become inter-wound with each other came to be a symbol of the bringing together of the two kingdoms.

Lotus Flower Meaning in Buddhism

In Buddhism the lotus is known to be associated with purity, spiritual awakening and faithfulness. The flower is considered pure as it is able to emerge from murky waters in the morning and be perfectly clean. Therefore in common with Egyptian mythology the lotus is seen as a sign of rebirth, but additionally it is associated with purity. The breaking of the surface every morning is also suggestive of desire, this leads to it being associated with spiritual enlightenment.

Buddha atop a Lotus Flower.

As Buddhism stems from a different part of the world to Egyptology, there are many more colors of lotus to be seen. So it is not too surprising that the many different colors have come to be associated with different aspects of Buddhism. The main symbolism of the lotus flower and their meanings are given here.
1.Blue Lotus: The blue lotus flower is associated with a victory of the spirit over that of wisdom, intelligence and knowledge. If you get to see it a blue Lotus in Buddhist art you will notice that it is always depicted as being partially open and the centre is never observed.
2.White lotus flower: this color lotus is known to symbolize Bodhi (being awakened), and represents a state of mental purity, and that of spiritual perfection; it is also associated with the pacification of one’s nature. This lotus is considered to be the womb of the world.
3.Purple Lotus: known to be Mystic and is associated with esoteric sects. It can be shown depicted as either an open flower or as a bud. The eight petals of the purple Lotus are representative of the noble eightfold path; one of the principal teachings of the Buddha. Following this path is thought to lead to self awakening, and is considered one of the noble truths.
4.Pink lotus flower: this is the supreme lotus and is considered to be the true lotus of Buddha.
5.Red lotus: this is related to the heart, and the Lotus flower meaning is associated with that of love and compassion.

The Lotus Flower and its Meaning in Hinduism

Perhaps one of the strongest associations of the lotus flower with religion is that that is observed in Hinduism. In this religion the lotus flower meaning is associated with beauty, fertility, prosperity, spirituality, and eternity.

The most common lotus form seen in Hinduism is the white lotus flower.

The beautiful white lotus flower has special significance in Hinduism, where its meaning is strongly associated with Laxmi and Brahma. Image by Matze_ott.

Many of the gods and goddesses of Hinduism are linked to the flower, for example the goddess of prosperity, Laxmi, is usually depicted as being seated atop a fully opened lotus flower. Likewise Brahma, the god of creation is depicted as emerging from a lotus that crawls from the Naval of the sustainer Lord Vishnu.

As a lotus is able to emerge from Muddy Waters un-spoilt and pure it is considered to represent a wise and spiritually enlightened quality in a person; it is representative of somebody who carries out their tasks with little concern for any reward and with a full liberation from attachment.

It is very interesting how the open flower and the unopened Lotus bud forms are associated with human traits. The unopened bud is representative of a folded soul that has the ability to unfold and open itself up to the divine truth.

Lotus Flower Timelaspe

The following video shows a timelaspe of a Lotus Flower slowly opening up to display in all its glory; truly beautiful.

It is hoped that you now have a better understanding of the lotus flower meaning across the three major cultures in which it is known to play (or have played) a major role. It is no wonder that these civilizations, have found wonderment in such a beautiful flower.

I was surprised when Anon called the Lotus plant an invasive plant,
still wondering what that was about, I do know some religions are very down on buddhism, god complex confiction?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/01/2017 04:42AM by riverhousebill.

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Re: Lotus, The Strength of a Symbol
Posted by: riverhousebill ()
Date: June 01, 2017 04:48AM

Lotus and others

Sacred Objects

Sacred Objects are any objects that you may consider to carry a quality of sanctity and essential to the performance of a ritual. A ritual is the ceremonial enactment of an intention. It is the way we intentionally ingrain our needs and wishes into our lives. Ritual is a way to integrate specific energies into a conscious path and request universal support. It is the way we endow our actions, space and possessions with our intentions, enabling them to support our daily life, our dreams and our desires. You may choose to follow a traditional ritual (e.g. prayer) or develop your own. Whether you participate in rituals developed over time or the rituals you create for yourself, both can facilitate great transformation. Traditional rituals, especially if developed in a culture with which you identify, can honor heritage, ancestors and tradition. But remember that while performing rituals created by others, it is your intention that ignites the effectiveness of any ritual. Creating your own ritual accesses your innate creative spirit. It calls upon your intuition to support you in your practice and frees you to follow the flow of your own soul. All ceremonial objects are as powerful or as weak as the belief that is embedded into them through our intention or repeated use. It is with your conscious intention and belief in the way in which you use any object that you assign it power and importance. I encourage you to find your own meaning and assign your personal interpretations to any of the objects you see on this site. The meaning you assign your objects will render it that much more powerful - whether that is lighting a candle, worshiping a deity, or putting on your favorite lotion.

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