The Lotus is a very important symbol in India and of Buddhism. It refers to the complete purification of body, speech and mind, and the blossoming of wholesome deeds in liberation. The lotus refers to many aspects of the path, as it grows from the mud (samsara), up through muddy water it appears clean on the surface (purification), and finally produces a beautiful flower (enlightenment). The white blossom represents purity, the stem stands for the practice of Buddhist teachings which raise the mind above the (mud of) worldly existence, and gives rise to purity of mind. An open blossom signifies full enlightenment; a closed blossom signifies the potential for enlightenment.
– from a list of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism on kalachakranet.org.
The lotus is a wonderful plant, imbued with a rich history in Eastern art and religious symbolism. The example image above shows the foot of Kuanyin (in the transitional style of Chinese/Tibetan sculpture between portrayals of the male Avalokitsvara and the later, distinctly female Kuanyin) on an open lotus flower. The lotus plant also graces some of the most stunning ponds in the world, shading the carp below with its broad, ruffle-edged leaves, distinctive seed pods and dramatic blooms. Interest in the lofty conceptual aspects of the lotus have attracted me to uses of the plant in foods and teas. So, in spite of my disappointing experience with Vietnamese lotus petal-infused green tea I agreed to taste some pure golden lotus flower (Jin Lian Hua) at New Century Tea House last weekend. I’m very glad that I gave it a chance, and I purchased one ounce of the tea, which in volume was much more than I expected, for drinking at home.
The liquor of this tisane is a lovely, bright orange-yellow with a pleasing scent. Upon first sip I noted the same distinctive lotus flavor that the tea blend has, but it is much mellower in taste. Subsequent sips revealed a very nice, warming flavor. It has no typical floral notes, but more of a vegetal fullness, unique to lotus. The tisane is made from whole golden lotus flowers, which may also contribute to the difference in flavor as the infusion with the green tea used only the petals. It was suggested that this tisane would be good to drink following a rich or very spicy meal. The day of the initial tasting it served as a nice, calming follow-up to a long sequence of caffeinated beverages.
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