The lotus is of great importance in Buddhism and has been a symbol of purity since before the time of the Buddha, and it blooms profusely in Buddhist art and literature. Its roots are in muddy water, but the lotus flower rises above the mud to bloom clean and fragrant.
The mud nourishing the roots represents our messy human lives. It is in the midst of our human experiences and our suffering that we seek to break free and bloom. But while the flower rises above the mud, the roots and stem remain in the mud, where we live our lives. A Zen verse says, "May we exist in muddy water with purity, like a lotus."
The flower also symbolizes detachment as water rolls off the petals easily, meaning that the purity of the soul, having reached enlightenment, can't be tainted. The lotus flower meaning in Buddhism also refers to rebirth and the core belief of reincarnation.
Different colored lotus flowers represent different things in the Buddhist faith. The white lotus flower symbolizes purity, both of the mind and soul. The blue lotus symbolizes common sense, wisdom, and knowledge. The pink lotus represents the history and essence of Buddha. Red represents love and compassion as it relates to the heart and connects to the root chakra. The purple lotus flower is mystical and spiritual and it's eight petals signify the Noble Eightfold Path to self-awakening. Lastly, the gold lotus flower symbolizes the achievement of true spiritual enlightenment.