Padma (attribute)
   HOME

TheInfoList



The lotus, ''
Nelumbo nucifera ''Nelumbo nucifera'', also known as Indian lotus, sacred lotus, or simply lotus, is one of two extant taxon, extant species of aquatic plant in the Family (Biology), family Nelumbonaceae. It is sometimes colloquially called a water lily, though ...

Nelumbo nucifera
'', is an
aquatic plant Aquatic plants are plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, and included algae and fungi; howeve ...
that plays a central role in the art of
Indian religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism,Adams, C. J.Classification of ...
such as
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word ''Hindu'' is ...

Hinduism
,
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and ...

Buddhism
, and
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduis ...

Jainism
. In Asian art a
lotus throne In Asian art a lotus throne, sometimes lotus platform, is a stylized lotus flower used as the seat or base for a figure. It is the normal pedestal for divine figures in Buddhist art and Hindu art, and often seen in Jain art. Originating in Indian ...

lotus throne
is a stylized lotus flower used as the seat or base for a figure. It is the normal pedestal for divine figures in
Buddhist art Buddhist art is the art, artistic practices that are influenced by Buddhism. It includes art media which depict Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other entities; notable Buddhist figures, both historical and mythical; narrative scenes from the lives of a ...
and
Hindu art Hindu art encompasses the artistic traditions and styles culturally connected to Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billi ...

Hindu art
, and often seen in
Jain art Jain art refers to religious works of art associated with Jainism. Even though Jainism spread only in some parts of India, it has made a significant contribution to Indian art and architecture. In general Jain art broadly follows the contempora ...
. Originating in
Indian art Indian art consists of a variety of art forms, including Indian painting, painting, sculpture in the Indian subcontinent, sculpture, Indian pottery, pottery, and textile arts such as Silk in the Indian subcontinent#Origin, woven silk. Geographica ...

Indian art
, it followed Indian religions to
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...

East Asia
in particular.


Confucianism

In
Chinese culture Chinese culture () is one of the world's oldest cultures, originating thousands of years ago. The culture prevails across a large geographical region in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's large ...
,
Confucian , Shanxi Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a ...
scholar
Zhou Dunyi Zhou Dunyi (; 1017–1073) was a Chinese philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdom'. The coining of the t ...
1017–1073) wrote: The lotus is the emblem of
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of the Chi ...

Macau
and appears on
its flag
its flag
.


Hinduism

Hindus Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-l ...

Hindus
revere it with the divinities
Vishnu Vishnu (; ; , ), also known as Narayana and Hari, is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within Vaishnavism, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. Vishnu is known as "The Preser ...

Vishnu
and
Lakshmi Lakshmi (; , ), also known as Shri (, ), is one of the principal goddesses in Hinduism. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune, power, beauty and prosperity, and associated with ''Maya (religion), Maya'' ("Illusion"). Along with Parvati and Sar ...

Lakshmi
often portrayed on a pink lotus in iconography; historically, many deities, namely Brahma, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Kubera, usually sit on a stylized
lotus throne In Asian art a lotus throne, sometimes lotus platform, is a stylized lotus flower used as the seat or base for a figure. It is the normal pedestal for divine figures in Buddhist art and Hindu art, and often seen in Jain art. Originating in Indian ...

lotus throne
. In the representation of Vishnu as
Padmanabha
Padmanabha
(Lotus navel), a lotus issues from his navel
Brahma Brahma ( sa, ब्रह्मा, Brahmā) is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism, though his importance has declined in recent centuries. He is also referred to as Svayambhu () and is associated with creation, knowledge a ...

Brahma
on it. The goddess
Saraswati Saraswati ( sa, सरस्वती, ) is the Hinduism, Hindu Devi, goddess of knowledge, music, art, speech, wisdom, and learning. She is a part of the tridevi of Saraswati, along with Lakshmi and Parvati. The earliest known mention of S ...

Saraswati
is portrayed on a pale pink lotus. The lotus is the symbol of what is divine or immortal in humanity, and also symbolizes divine perfection. The lotus is the attribute of sun and fire gods. It symbolizes the realization of inner potential, and in Tantric and Yogic traditions, it symbolizes the potential of an individual to harness the flow of energy moving through the chakras (often depicted as wheel-like lotuses) flowering as the thousand-petaled lotus of enlightenment at the top of the skull. Vishnu is often described as the "Lotus-Eyed One" (''Pundarikaksha''). The lotus's unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. In Hindu iconography, other deities, like
Ganga The Ganges ( ) or Ganga ( , ) is a trans-boundary river of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, He ...
and
Ganesha Ganesha ( sa, गणेश, ), also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka, is one of the best-known and most worshipped Deva_(Hinduism), deities in the Hindu deities, Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, I ...

Ganesha
, are often depicted with lotus flowers as their seats. The lotus plant is cited extensively within
Puranic The word Purana (; sa, , ') literally means "ancient, old",Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, , page 915 and it is a vast genre of Indian literature about a wide range of topics, particularly about ...
and
Vedic FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Comp ...

Vedic
literature, for example:


Buddhism

In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the
Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an Śramaṇa, ascetic, a religious leader and teacher who lived in History of India#Iron Age (1500 – 200 BCE ...

Buddha
compares himself to a lotus (in
Pali Pali () is a Middle Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the ''Pāli Canon The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scripture Religious texts are t ...
, ''paduma''), saying that the lotus flower raises from the muddy water unstained, as he raises from this world, free from the defilements taught in the specific sutta.AN 10.81, '"Bāhuna suttaṃ".AN 4.36, "Doṇa suttaṃ". In
Buddhist symbolism Buddhist symbolism is the method of Buddhist art to represent certain aspects of dharma, which began in the fourth century BCE. Anthropomorphism, Anthropomorphic symbolism appeared from around the first century CE with the arts of Mathura the G ...
, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech and mind, as if floating above the murky waters of material attachment and physical desire. According to legend,
Gautama Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an Śramaṇa, ascetic, a religious leader and teacher who lived in History of India#Iron Age (1500 – 200 BCE ...

Gautama Buddha
's first steps made lotus flowers appear everywhere he stepped. In Tibet,
Padmasambhava
Padmasambhava
, the Lotus-Born, is considered the Second Buddha, having brought Buddhism to that country by conquering or converting local deities; he is normally depicted holding a flower.
Lotus throne In Asian art a lotus throne, sometimes lotus platform, is a stylized lotus flower used as the seat or base for a figure. It is the normal pedestal for divine figures in Buddhist art and Hindu art, and often seen in Jain art. Originating in Indian ...

Lotus throne
s are the normal
pedestal A pedestal (from French ''piédestal'', Italian ''piedistallo'' 'foot of a stall') or plinth A pedestal (from French ''piédestal'', Italian ''piedistallo'' 'foot of a stall') or plinth A pedestal (from French ''piédestal'', Italian ''p ...

pedestal
for most important figures in
Buddhist art Buddhist art is the art, artistic practices that are influenced by Buddhism. It includes art media which depict Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other entities; notable Buddhist figures, both historical and mythical; narrative scenes from the lives of a ...
.


Jainism

The founders (
tirthankaras In Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion and the method of acquiring perfect knowledge of self and universe and perfect joy through Extrasensory perception, extrasensory means as em ...

tirthankaras
) of Jainism are portrayed seated or standing on
lotus throne In Asian art a lotus throne, sometimes lotus platform, is a stylized lotus flower used as the seat or base for a figure. It is the normal pedestal for divine figures in Buddhist art and Hindu art, and often seen in Jain art. Originating in Indian ...

lotus throne
s. As his name suggests, the Jain tirthankara
Padmaprabha Padmaprabha, also known as Padmaprabhu, was the sixth Jain Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion and the method of acquiring omniscience, perfect knowledge of Jīva (Jainism), self and Jain cosmol ...

Padmaprabha
is also represented by the symbol of a lotus. Padmaprabha means 'bright as a red lotus' in Sanskrit. It is said in Śvetāmbara sources that his mother had a fancy for a couch of red lotuses – padma – while he was in her womb.


Manichaeism

Chinese Manichaeism borrowed the iconography of Chinese Buddhism, frequently depicting religious figures revered in Manichaeism seated upon
lotus throne In Asian art a lotus throne, sometimes lotus platform, is a stylized lotus flower used as the seat or base for a figure. It is the normal pedestal for divine figures in Buddhist art and Hindu art, and often seen in Jain art. Originating in Indian ...

lotus throne
s in its religious art.


Christianity

Since the introduction of Christianity to India, the iconography of the Saint Thomas Christians has depicted the Saint Thomas Christian cross, also called the Persian cross, atop a stylised lotus flower. Likewise, following the introduction of Christianity to China by the Church of the East, the Nestorian cross was frequently depicted atop a lotus flower in Chinese Christian iconography.


Baháʼí Faith

The international Baháʼí Faith community adopted the symbolism of the lotus in the design of the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India.


Cultural

In the classical written and oral literature of many Asian cultures the lotus is present in figurative form, representing elegance, beauty, perfection, purity and grace, being often used in poems and songs as an allegory for ideal feminine attributes. In Sanskrit the word lotus (पद्म ''padma'') has many synonyms: since the lotus thrives on water, ''ja'' (denoting birth) is added to words for water to derive synonyms for lotus, like ''rajiv'', ''ambuja'' (''ambu'' (water) + ''ja'' (born of)), ''neerja'' (''neera'' (water) + ''ja'' (born of)), ''pankaj'', ''pankaja'', ''kamal'', ''kamala'', ''kunala'', ''aravind'', ''arvind'', ''nalin'', ''nalini'' and ''saroja'' and names derived from the lotus, like ''padmavati'' (possessing lotuses) or ''padmini'' (full of lotuses). These names and derived versions are often used to name girls, and to a lesser extent boys, throughout South and Southeast Asia. The lotus flower is the state flower of several Indian states, including Karnataka, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh. The lotus flower is the election symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party, one of the two major political parties in India.


See also

* Lotus position * Ashtamangala (Eight Auspicious Symbols) * Om mani padme hum - "the jewel in the lotus"


References


Further reading

* * *


External links

* {{Buddhism topics Indian iconography Hindu iconography Hindu symbols Buddhist iconography Buddhist symbols Jain iconography Jain symbols Christian iconography Christian symbols Bahá'í Faith Manichaeism Confucian culture