The Secret of the Lotus
I posted this before on anothe Buddhist chat forum.
I'll post a version of it here too.
The Lotus flower is considered by many Buddhists to be a symbol of purity...becaause the Lotus seemingly grows from often dirty
and muddy water, but still the leaves seem to be clean in spite of the mud. Is that just a myth without any real facts behind it,
or does it have some basis in scientific fact?
Actually research has been done to study that very question by scientists.
What they found was that the leaf of the Lotus has adapted to living in swampy and muddy water...and the Lotus leaf has apparently
evolved to remove dirt from it's leaves.
Firstly, the Lotus leaf is coated with a waxy substance. Water droplets do not cling to this wax, and therefore run off the Lotus
But how do these water droplets form in the first place?
Well the lotus leaf has a network of very small grooves in it...so small they are hard to see without magnification. Growing on both
side of these grooves are short hair bundles. When water contacts these hairs they act as a wick...and the water is drawn up to the
top of the hair bundless. In addition these hairs have a substance...another type of natural wax...that repels water away from the
base of the hairs and up towards the top of the hairs. The water therefore collects at the top of these hairs. With the extra
wieght of the water these short hair bundles become heavier at the top, and bend down toward the Lotus leaf's surface.
Eventually the top of these hairs make contact with those small grooves in the Lotus leaf. These grooves by an "amazing co-
incidence" are exactly the right size for the water in the hairs to form a small droplet of water in those small grooves. The
grooves lead to other slightly larger groves...and so on.
The end result is that through the combination of the waxy leaf surface, the small hair bundles that asorb water, and the network
of grooves...water is drawn away from the leaf surface, and forms snall drops, which are deposited into the small grooves and then
lead downward by gravity until they become large enough to drop off the Lotus leaf. While doing this those droplets also wash off
particles of dirt on the leaf, making the Lotus leaf "self-cleaning".
Based on their understanding of exactly how the lotus leaf sheds water and is "self-cleabing" matierials scientists are now
attempting to design new fabrics for clothes that will repel rain water naturally and also "clean" themselves.
And I bet you thought all that about the Lotus being revered by Buddhists as a symbol of purity growing even among the dirty water
it lives in was all a lot of superstitous junk, didn't you?
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach