The lotus flower has been very symbolic to the East, because the East says you should live in the world but remain untouched by it. You should remain in the world, but the world should not remain in you. You should pass through the world without carrying any impression, any impact, any scratch.
If by the time of death you can say that your consciousness is as pure, as innocent, as you have brought it with you at birth, you have lived a religious life, a spiritual life.
Hence, the lotus flower has become a symbol of a spiritual style of living. Untouched by the water... it grows from the mud in the water, and yet remains untouched. And it is a symbol of transformation. Mud is transformed into the most beautiful and the most fragrant flower this planet knows about. Gautam Buddha was so much in love with the lotus that he called his paradise "the lotus paradise."