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The Importance of the Lotus Flower in Buddhism

Flowers are important objects of offering both in monasteries and in temples. The importance of flowers has been lauded in many religious occasions. Hinduism has even explained the importance of many flowers associated with particular gods. The lotus flower stands apart in its enormous value to both Hinduism and Buddhism. The palhi Buddhavamsa shows the existence of four past Buddhas explaining the Buddha Dipamkara to be the first one.

However Mahayana Buddhism reveals the number of past Buddhas to be more than in other Buddhist traditions. The importance of the lotus flower is associated with the origin of the Kathmandu valley also, which was once a big lake. Vipashvi, one of the human Buddhas came to the Kathmandu valley from Bandhumati (India) for meditation in the northern hill of the lake named today as Nagarjun. While he was in deep meditation, he was divinely inspired to sow the lotus flower seed in the lake from his meditating hill. He carried out the divine order in the full moon day of March-April. After six months, a lotus flower bloomed and a light from the divine was inserted into it again on another full moon night. The Adi Buddha in the form of flame was self-created which is Swayambhu today.

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