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The lotus plant and its flower have long been symbols of purity and nonattachment in the myriad religious traditions of diverse cultures spanning Asia, from Afghanistan and India to Indonesia and Japan, although worldwide the lotus is perhaps most commonly identified with Hinduism and Buddhism. Due to the natural characteristics of the plant, the lotus has persisted as a symbol of a variety of spiritual virtues for thousands of years. Moreover, the seeds, roots, young leaves, and flowers of the lotus plant are all edible and are common features of the Asian diet as well as being used in traditional medicine. Both India and Vietnam have honored the plant as symbols of their nations, naming the lotus as their national flower.

The roots of the lotus ...

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