The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through
the water, and the heavily scented flower lies above the water,
basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the
progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through
the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.
Though there are other water plants that bloom above the water,
it is only the lotus which, owing to the strength of its stem,
regularly rises eight to twelve inches above the surface.
Significantly, the color of the lotus too has
an important bearing on the symbology associated with it:
1). White Lotus (Skt. pundarika;
Tib. pad ma dkar po): This represents the state of spiritual perfection
and total mental purity (bodhi). It is associated with the White
Tara and proclaims her perfect nature, a quality which is reinforced
by the color of her body.
2). Red Lotus (Skt. kamala; Tib: pad ma chu skyes):
This signifies the original nature and purity of the heart (hrdya).
It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion and all other qualities
of the heart. It is the flower of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva
3). Blue Lotus (Skt. utpala; Tib. ut pa la):
This is a symbol of the victory of the spirit over the senses,
and signifies the wisdom of knowledge. Not surprisingly, it is
the preferred flower of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom.
4). Pink Lotus (Skt. padma; Tib. pad ma dmar
po): This the supreme lotus, generally reserved for the highest
deity. Thus naturally it is associated with the Great Buddha himself.