“As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world.” – Buddha
The lotus is a flower with a wealth of spiritual symbolism tied to many cultures from Egyptology, Hinduism, to Buddhism. Each culture lends a slightly different take on the meaning of the lotus, but in essence the lotus reflects spiritual awakening, purity, potential, rebirth, creation, and eternity. I love this symbolism and seeing the huge King Lotus flowers at the Shanghai Botanical Garden made me think again about the beauty and meaning of these flowers.
King lotus is much bigger than normal other lotus plants and hold a magical beauty. The flowers are snow white and up to 30-40cm in diameter, opening up every morning to worship the sun and closing its petals again by dawn. To blossom, the lotus flower must grow through mud and dirty pond water. But it blooms anyway. The sad thing is that the flowers are relatively short-lived, lasting only 48 hours or so.
But the most striking part of this plant is definitely the huge leaves that look as if it is defying gravity by floating on the surface of the pond. They are huge and some can easily support the weight of a small child of 20-30kg. I did wish for a moment I could test this out but knew no-one would volunteer their kid for this experiment.
“The lotus flower is a reminder of the beauty that comes from change, the magic that a new beginning brings, and the seed of potential that’s buried in the most unlikely places.” – Jennifer Williamson