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The Lotus as a symbol is used throughout history and in many cultures.
In Hinduisum and Buddhism it is a frequent symbol in art and spiritual representation.
The Lotus symbolizes mankind as the lotus. As the lotus flower emerges pristine and beautiful from the smelly muck of the pond so human potential and the true self emerges from the messy smelly chaotic world of humanity. It is said the smellier the pond the better the lotus as an analogy also for a human life. In the same way, it is said the more neurotic the person the more good stuff to work with towards a persons enlightenment. (Good news!)