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Thursday, April 14, 2011

‘L’ is for the Lotus flower, its purity rising out of muddy waters

The lotus rises through murky waters of ponds and lakes. However, when it blooms, it floats upon the surface, its petals fresh and lovely, untainted by the mud from which it grew.

In Buddhist symbolism, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech, mind, and soul as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. According to legend, lotus flowers bloomed everywhere the Buddha stepped.

Having taken refuge as a Tibetan Buddhist (Kagyu lineage), I often think of the significance of the lotus in the common meditation practice of Chenrezik, a reminder of the focus of Buddhism—compassion.

In the practice, the recitation tells a tale of how Chenrezik is born, from the union of a sperm from the moon with a flower of the white lotus. His body rises from that flower, radiating clear, white light suffused with the five colors. His eyes gaze in compassion and his smile is loving. Of his four arms, the first two are joined in a prayer and the lower two hold a crystal rosary and white lotus. The rest of the visualization shows how Chenrezik embodies compassion and how to be one with him and share this quality.


Here is one of my favorite walking meditation poems, offering a visualization of the lotus. 

Walking Meditation
~by the Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.



Jennie Fiumefreddo said...

Although I am not a Buddist the poem rang true and gave me a word of inner peace I need right now. Thank you!

Marsha A. Moore said...

Hi Jennie! It is a comforting poem and brings peace. Glad you enjoyed it.

Margaret Almon said...

Thank you for reminding of this poem--I read it a long time ago. Walking is one of my favorite ways to meditate.

Karen Walker said...

Exquisite - the blog, the lotus, the post, the poem. Thank you.

Angela Felsted said...

This lotus is beautiful. I didn't know the lotus flower was said to have bloomed wherever the Buddha stepped. What a nice story.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thanks lots for visiting, Margaret, Karen, and Angela. I'm glad you enjoyed the peace of the lotus.