The lotus flower holds great symbolic meaning in a number of cultures, especially in Asia and Egypt, going back thousands of years. The lotus figures prominently in the arts and religion, and often simultaneously when religious artifacts display the lotus. In Buddhism, the purple lotus is particularly significant.
Lotus in Egypt
Seen as a symbol for rebirth in ancient Egypt, the lotus bud is closely associated with the sun. It closes and falls to the water at night, and at daybreak rises back above the water.
Lotus in India
The lotus figures prominently in the creation of a myth of India where a thousand-petaled golden lotus, which represents the world, rose from primeval waters due to the mind of the Supreme Being.
Lotus in Buddhism
The lotus is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols in Buddhism and can be found in virtually every representation of deities, where they are often portrayed sitting or standing on a lotus, or holding one. The symbolism of the lotus is related to how it rises from muck and, while its roots are in the mud, it stills lies beautifully on the water. This is an image of enlightenment.
Symbolism of the Colors of the Lotus
The white lotus represents spiritual perfection and mental purity; the pink lotus is the supreme lotus and associated with Buddha; the red lotus is associated with the heart and compassion; the blue lotus signifies wisdom.
The purple lotus is considered the mystic lotus, and is not as commonly seen as the other lotus flower colors. Usually depicted as either a bud, or in bloom revealing the heart, they may appear on a single, triple or quintuple stem, and the eight petals represent the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.