. . . a Buddha to be.
Said with hands held in a prayer position in front of the heart, these beautiful words are a common greeting between Buddhists at temples and meditation retreats. The joined hands represent the bud of a lotus flower, preparing to blossom in all its beauty and purity. As Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh explains, "The meditation practitioner is like a lotus flower in the process of blooming. Buddhas are fully bloomed flowers, beautiful and refreshing. All of us are Buddhas-to-be." This is one of the main reasons why people practicing meditation and the Dhamma greet each other in this way.
As a botanist, flowers and plants in general inspire a great amount of fascination and interest, but the lotus has always been among my favorites (A happy premonition, perhaps? :) Since becoming a Buddhist and learning about both Buddhist and Hindu spiritual symbolism, this sacred flower now has taken on a deep personal meaning. I find that the inspiring way these delicate blooms emerge so purely from the deep, dark muck below are a great subject for contemplation.
Is the same true for you? How does the symbolism of the lotus blossom inspire you in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
The following images are from a trip my husband and parents took to Pennsylvania's beautiful Longwood Gardens a few weeks ago. Much to our delight, the lotus ponds nestled between the wings of the enormous, four-acre conservatory were in full bloom. I hope you enjoy looking at some of the pictures we took there- I couldn't think of a better time to share them!
Overview of the central lotus pond, with a beautiful Indian lotus contemplating its own breathtaking reflection.
A magenta colored lotus emerging from the dark water, luminous in the sunshine.
A lovely purple lotus, with its bountiful petals.
A delicate white lotus.
My favorite image: A delicately pink water lily looking almost silken in the bright afternoon sun. I love how the reflection of clouds in the sky seem to caress the flower; a harmonious union of earth, sky, water, and sun.
I hope you've enjoyed these images I have posted today. I know that I certainly enjoyed capturing these photos and sharing them with you!
May all beings be happy- and now a lotus for you, a Buddha to be! _/|\_