The Lotus is a plant that belongs to the Nelumbo genus, and it has long been associated with purity, rebirth and divinity.
Some, but not all, of the lotus flower symbolism is different across the major cultures that it plays a role. For instance in Buddhism it is seen as a sign of purity, associated with beauty in Hinduism, and with the Sun in Egyptology; more recently the significance of the Lotus has been incorporated into the Bahai religion.
A thing that is striking about the lotus is that although it often grows in mud, and returns within it at night, it always flowers clean the following day, this makes it a great item to use for a metaphor.
It also led the great Chinese Philosopher Confucius to state “I have a love for the Lotus, while growing in mud it still remains unstained”. The Lotus is symbolic with many religions as follows:
In Buddhism the Lotus flower is known to symbolize purity of speech, of the body, and of the mind. It is fabled that Siddhartha Gautama (Gautama Buddha), whose teaching Buddhism is founded upon, left a trail of Lotus Flowers in his wake with every step that he took. Perhaps the major Lotus flower symbolism is it’s association with spiritual awakening or enlightenment.
A person’s path in life is said to be similar to that of the Lotus. Starting at the seed stage, early in the karmic cycle, through to the bud emerging from the dirty water, representing a person following the path of spirituality and leaving attachment behind, and finally blossoming, this is when a person has become fully awakened and has achieved nirvana.
The association between the Lotus flower and Hinduism is fairly complex with the flower having many roles to play, both in creation and in awakening.
The flower is associated with Vishnu, who following tender care as he slept from Lakshmi, was awakened by the creation sound Om. Then follows a Lotus flower blossoming from the naval of Vishnu. A top the Lotus was Brahma, who upon Vishnu’s command created the world. All of the gods and goddesses of Hinduism are associated with a pink Lotus flower, as this is considered to be the most divine and is only awarded to those of the highest standing.
As with Buddhism there are many Lotus Flower symbolism's that are associated with purity, further to this the heart of the Lotus is considered to be purist and people need to strive to be like the opened flower and be of good heart; the soul is also considered to be within the heart of the Lotus.
Furthermore, in Hinduism the Lotus flower is representative of how a person can become awakened to the spiritual reality.