Nothing is more divine than this immaculate and pure flower. Gazing into its large colorful blossoms that rise high above broad green leaves, you’ll be drawn to their blithely beautiful figures, and even find yourself unburdened from worldly cares.
The lotus, which comes to its beautiful full bloom in the summer, is a flower that defies logic. With its roots deep in the murky pool, the flower slowly emerges toward the surface and bursts out of the water to reveal its fragrant petals, bearing no resemblance to the place it came from. It is also miraculous that the lotus reblooms every morning with the sunlight of a new day after sinking under the muddy water each night, emerging totally free mud or grime. It’s truly an incredible daily circle of life.
For its apparent ability to rise above adversity, the lotus is associated with symbols of spiritual enlightenment and rebirth in Eastern cultures. In Buddhist myth, the Buddha appeared on a floating lotus, which symbolizes a rise above defilements and struggles, and his first footsteps on Earth left lotus blossoms. Also, in Buddhist culture, the white lotus stands for purity, whereas the yellow lotus symbolizes spiritual ascension.
But you don’t need to understand Buddhism to feel the otherworldly beauty of this flower. Whichever stage of life one is in, our lives may not be that much different from this strong-willed flower that starts its life from the bottom where life seems almost impossible. The mud speaks of the common ground humans share: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. Just as the lotus opens one petal by one petal, we can overcome adversities with the resilience to grow from the darkness.
If you hurry to Muan, South Jeolla Province, the largest habitat of white lotus flowers in Asia, you might just be able to get a last glimpse of the breathtaking scenery filled with this enlightening flower.
By Hong Dam-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)