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The spiritual significance of lotus flowers in Thailand

Photo by Southern Thailand Elephant Foundation.

If you live in Thailand, you’ve probably noticed the country’s scenic lotus flowers blooming in ponds across the kingdom. These flowers add a great deal of beauty to Thailand’s scenery.

But did you know that lotuses also hold significance in Thai Buddhism? Lotuses grow from mud, and are therefore believed to symbolise growing toward light and warmth, and rising above defilement. They are thought to represent purity and spiritual awakening.

Every night, lotuses submerge back into the murky pond waters, and the next day, they bloom again. This is believed to symbolise the Buddhist concept of rebirth.

The different colours that lotus flowers come in are also believed to hold different meanings. Pink lotuses are said to represent the Buddha himself. Blue lotuses are said to represent wisdom. White lotuses are said to represent spiritual perfection and purity. Pink lotuses are the most common lotuses in Thailand.

One position that people sit in to meditate is called the lotus position. In this position, the legs are crossed in a way that makes the bent knees look like the petals of a lotus.

The spiritual significance of lotus flowers in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Many Buddhist paintings in Thailand feature lotus flowers beneath Buddha in various gestures. It can often be seen that the Buddha statues are built sitting on a lotus throne.

Thais often give lotuses to monks as an offering, or place them near statues of the Buddha. When placed near Buddha statues, lotuses are usually offered with a candle and three incense sticks.

The spiritual significance of lotus flowers in Thailand | News by Thaiger
Lotus offering, photo by Thaizer.

Thailand’s lotuses are a major scenic attraction. In the northern Nakhon Sawan province, pink lotuses are drawing tourists to Bueng Boraphet, a lake and swamp. The lotuses are currently covering an area of over 100 rai there.

Flower lovers can hire a private boat operator to see the lotuses up close. Prices start from 600 baht per hour for a 12-seater boat.

Those interested in getting a view of the stunning lotuses can call the Bueng Boraphet Wildlife Sanctuary Office via at 056-009-717.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.