Lotus Flower Reflections
On a quiet Saturday afternoon in
December, my wife, Eva, and I visited Chung Tian Temple in Priestdale, Queensland, Australia. Coincidentally, we
met Meng, one of the volunteers at the Temple, whom I had wanted to see, but didn’t expect to run into. She
greeted us warmly and then asked: “Have you seen the lotus pond?” We had no idea there even was a lotus pond.
What followed turned our visit into an unforgettable experience. On her way to a meeting, Meng introduced us to
a gardener, John McVitty, who then led us to a large pond filled with pink lotus flowers swaying in the warm
early summer breeze! Surrounding the pond are gently sloping hillsides of Australian eucalyptus bush. The
peacefulness and serenity of the location are still etched on our minds. This fantastic setting was only minutes
from where we parked our car!
For a moment, Eva and I silently
admired the wonder of so many lotus flowers dancing in the sunlight before us. Then, strolling around the pond,
I began to reflect on the special significance of the lotus flower in Buddhist perception. (However, the
also seen as a sacred flower by Hindus and ancient Egyptians.)
Stages of Growth
Our efforts in spirituality can be
compared to a lotus flower. Rooted in mud at the bottom of a pond, the plant’s leaves and flower buds grow
through the water to the surface. Finally, beautiful flowers rise above the water.
Similarly, in their own time, by grace
(a process we cannot fully understand, but whereby an individual receives a precious human rebirth), a person
will start emerging from the muck of worldly passions and aversions. Ultimately in their life, there will be a
beautiful flower of spirituality, signifying full enlightenment and self-awareness.
When opened and visible in full bloom,
clean and fragrant, the exquisite lotus flower may be compared with the full expression of the Buddha-mind. By
contrast, a closed lotus bud could represent the time not long before a person's