Lotus flowers are incredibly beautiful, but due to their unique life cycle, they are also imbued with deep religious a spiritual significance for many people around the world.
They are important in several major religions and can also be adopted by spiritual people who don’t adhere to a particular organized religion – and to help you learn more about their symbolism and uses, in this post we look at the details of lotus flower spiritual meaning.
Lotus Flower Spiritual Meanings
1. A sacred flower in Buddhism
The lotus is considered a sacred flower in Buddhism and is one of the eight auspicious symbols of the religion.
The lotus appears in the story of the Buddha’s birth when his mother had a vision of a white elephant carrying a lotus flower, which foretold the significance of her child.
In general, due to the fact that it rises through the mud towards the light, the lotus also represents the search for enlightenment and the release from the never-ending cycle of reincarnation.
Finally, lotus flowers of different colors also have specific significance in the Buddhist religion.
White lotuses represent purity, red flowers represent love and passion, blue is for common sense, logic and wisdom, pink represents the story of the Buddha’s life and a gold lotus represents enlightenment and the achievement of Nirvana.
2. An important symbol in Hinduism
Even before the Buddha’s birth, the lotus flower already had deep spiritual significance within the Hindu religion – and for some of the same reasons.
In particular, the white lotus flower also represents purity in Hindu symbolism, and lotuses are also closely connected to Hindu deities. Many images of Hindu gods depict them meditating on a throne consisting of a pedestal in the form of a lotus flower.
The life cycle of the lotus, growing and dying off but then leaving seeds that will eventually germinate is also seen as a metaphor for the constant cycle of life, death and rebirth.
3. Associated with Thomas the Apostle and his arrival in India
Although the lotus flower is most closely connected to Hinduism and Buddhism, it also features in Christianity, most notably in connection with Thomas the Apostle.
Thomas is believed to have traveled to India to preach the Christian gospel and became the patron saint of India.
Due to the association of the lotus flower with India, in Christian symbolism, it represents Thomas’ arrival in India and his bringing of the Christian religion to the land of Hinduism and Buddhism.
4. Ismaili Muslim beliefs
The lotus flower also appears in the beliefs of Ismaili Muslims and in other Muslim practices in South Asia.
The symbolism is similar to that of Buddhism and Hinduism in that the lotus represents a pure soul and is notable for emerging from the mud and dirty water and then opening into a pure, clean flower free of any blemishes.
The lotus is known to flourish in pure rainwater, and this represents the Muslim believer who seeks to grow only through true knowledge.
Even for those who are spiritual without following a recognized religion, the lotus flower can also carry deep symbolism and significance, for many of the same reasons.
As we’ve already mentioned, the lotus flower grows from mud and water, but once it breaks the surface, it unfurls its petals, revealing itself in all its glorious splendor.
When this happens, the flower itself is perfectly clean due to the protective outer shell that keeps the petals safe and clean inside.
This means many people see the lotus as a powerful symbol of spiritual purity.
Sometimes, through the course of our daily lives, we can accumulate negative emotions and energy, which we then need to expel to return ourselves to a state of spiritual balance.
As a result, placing lotuses or at least the images of lotuses in a space where you meditate or undergo spiritual cleansing can help rid you of the kind of negativity that can drag you down, allowing you to grow and flourish like a beautiful lotus flower.
For obvious reasons, the lotus can also be seen as a symbol of the cycle of death and rebirth, even if you don’t adhere to the beliefs of Hinduism or Buddhism.
The universe is cyclical in nature, and we are surrounded by countless examples that show this to be true.
As we progress on our individual spiritual journeys, we need to learn the truth that every ending is also a new beginning and that we should not resist or mourn change but rather should welcome and celebrate it.
Growing old is a part of life, but so is the creation of new life, and the lotus flower can help us remember and accept this ultimate truth.
Life is not always easy, but life still always finds a way to push through and survive, and the lotus flower can be seen as the embodiment of this.
In a more general sense, the lotus flower can be seen as an emblem of hard work and determination because after pushing its way up from the murky depths below, it bursts out into the light, the successful culmination of all its efforts.
As a result of this, when you are experiencing moments of self-doubt or feel like giving up on something, remember the determination of the lotus flower and let it inspire you to redouble your efforts – because the results will be worth all the hard work and sacrifice.
8. Spiritual enlightenment
If you are on a journey of spiritual growth and evolution, the lotus flower is also an image that may help to focus your mind.
As we have seen, according to several religious traditions, the growing lotus flower always pushing towards the light at the surface of the water is representative of the journey towards enlightenment, reminding us always to seek higher truths.
Sometimes, in the modern materialistic world, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the importance of spirituality, whatever form that takes.
However, just as we need to eat a balanced diet if we want to keep our bodies healthy, it’s important to balance our spiritual needs with the needs of our lives in the physical world for a happy, fulfilled and enriching existence.
For this reason, keeping lotus flowers or their images near you can remind you never to lose sight of the importance of your spirituality, however pressing or all-consuming the needs of your physical life may sometimes seem.
9. The divine
Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs, the lotus flower can also serve as your connection to the divine, reminding you that we are all interconnected, belonging to something far greater than our individual selves.
Through spiritual practices such as meditation, self-exploration and introspection, we can attempt to come closer to a higher power, and the lotus flower, through its constant efforts to grow tall and break the surface can remind us never to give up on this goal.
10. Healing powers
Although it is revered as a spiritual plant due to its constant struggle and its purity when it finally breaks the surface, the lotus plant is also believed to have many healing properties, especially in traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine.
Different parts of the plant are said to be useful for treating different ailments.
For example, the leaves have traditionally been used for treating certain conditions related to the blood, including nosebleeds and blood in the urine.
The flowers, on the other hand, may be used for lowering levels of sugar in the blood as well as for curing conditions such as fever or diarrhea.
The rhizomes, which are a popular food in certain parts of Asia, are also thought to have diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Finally, lotus seeds have long been thought to be beneficial to the heart and kidneys and were used for such purposes in China as long as 3,000 years ago.
One other property of the lotus has also given it another spiritual or symbolic significance, and that’s the ability of the seeds to remain dormant for extremely long periods before “waking up” and sprouting.
For this reason, the lotus has traditionally been seen in China as a symbol of long life, and placing lotus plants or lotus symbols around your home may also be a way to increase the energies around you that will lead to your increased longevity too.
Alternatively, giving a gift of a lotus flower could also carry a similar meaning, serving as a way of wishing the recipient a long and happy life.
A beautiful flower with deep spiritual significance
As we’ve seen, far more than just being a beautiful flower – although it undoubtedly is that too – the lotus is one of the most religiously and spiritually significant of all plants.
It represents purity, spirituality, the spiritual journey and the search for spiritual enlightenment and keeping lotuses or their images nearby can help us remain steadfast as we each tread our path on the road towards spiritual growth, development and evolution.