Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dharma dahlia?

The lotus is the flower most closely associated with Buddhism, but I couldn't help but notice the symbolic consistencies captured within this Dahlia, a cultivar named 'Marie Schnugg'.

Photographed in the Halifax Public Gardens.
I saw this quite by accident, and my involuntary response was,
"Oh my gosh, Tibet has been captured in a flower." 

The colors are those of monks' robes.
Screengrab coutesy of the Buddha Dharma Education Association and Buddhanet.
The same colors and pattern are echoed in meditation cushions: round yellow center and bright red perimeter.
Screengrabbed from the Samadhi Cushions homepage.
Dahlia 'Marie Schnugg' has exactly eight petals, resembling the spokes of a Dharma wheel, which represent the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Wikipedia motif as it marks all pages in the Buddhism series.
And last but not least, the highly unusual individual rolled petals of this cultivar remind me of prayer flags curling and cupping in the wind.
Screengrab courtesy of The Peace Flag Project.
I can find no evidence on the internet that this flower was developed for, or was ever intended to be associated with, any facet or lineage of Buddhism.  It appears to be coincidental that it echoes so closely all of the characteristics that I've enumerated above.  Tradition notwithstanding, if I had to vote for a flower to stand beside the lotus in representing the next phase of Buddhism's worldwide evolution, this would definitely be the one. 

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