Egyptian Lotus .........Chinese Architecture Dictionary.........Japanese Architecture Dictionary
Illustrated Architecture Dictionary .
Wikipedia; Nelumbo Nucifera
(online Jan. 2014)
Nelumbo nucifera, known by numerous common names including Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus, is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae.
The flowers, seeds, young leaves, and "roots" (rhizomes) are all edible.
From ancient times the lotus has been a divine symbol in Asian traditions representing the virtues of sexual purity and non-attachment.
Most deities of Asian religions are depicted as seated on a lotus flower.
In Buddhist symbolism, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech, and mind as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. According to legend, Gautama Buddha was born with the ability to walk, and lotus flowers bloomed everywhere he stepped. The lotus’ importance comes from Buddhism and is one of the eight precious things in Buddhism.
Hindus revere the lotus with the divinities Vishnu and Lakshmi often portrayed on a pink lotus in iconography. In the representation of Vishnu as Padmanabha (Lotus navel), a lotus issues from his navel with Brahma on it. Goddess Sarasvati is portrayed on a white-colored lotus.
A common misconception is referring to the lotus as a water lily (Nymphaea), an entirely different plant.
Buddhists.org: The Meaning of the Lotus Flower in Buddhism
(online Jan. 2014)
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 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.
- Buddhists.org (online Jan. 2014)
Wikipedia: Lotus Position
(online Jan. 2014)
The Lotus Position is a cross-legged sitting asana [a body position, typically associated with the practice of Yoga, originally identified as a mastery of sitting still] originating in meditative practices of ancient India, in which the feet are placed on the opposing thighs.
It is an established asana, commonly used for meditation, in the Hindu Yoga, Jain and Buddhist contemplative traditions. The asana is said to resemble a lotus, to encourage breathing proper to associated meditative practice, and to foster physical stability.
Shiva, the meditating ascetic God of Hinduism, Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, and the Jinas of Jainism have been depicted in the lotus position.
- Left illustration above - Painting: "Lotus and Dragonfly," Shanghai Museum, China
- Right illustration above - column decoration: Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China
- Lotus plants - Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura, Japan
- 2 tile-ends - Shaanxi History Museum, China
- Stone Buddha - Shanghai Museum, China
- Building roof - Centre Building, Bund, Shanghai, China
- Ceramic jar with interlaced lotus - Shanghai Museum, China
- Ceramic statue of Buddha - Shanghai Museum, China
- Ceramic bowl with interlaced lotus - Shanghai Museum, China
- Ceramic pillow - Shanghai Museum, China
- Ceramic bodhisattva - Shanghai Museum, China
- Bronze lotus plant - Great Buddha of Kamakura, Japan
- Bronze lotus plant - Buddhist Todaiji Temple, Nara, Japan
- Gilded finial - Kiyomizudera Buddhist Temple