The lotus, or padma, is a symbol of redemption and enlightenment. It is one of the Ashtamangala, or eight auspicious symbols of the Dharmic religions.
Like the phoenix, it represents a kind of spiritual rebirth. This plant starts in the muck and darkness and sends a stalk above the murky waters, where it produces a beautiful flower with a most intoxicating scent. Many Asian cultures see the lotus as a symbol of rising above ones circumstances and transcending the earthly plain.