This section deals with the two main shapes assumed by the ginzuishou — the sphere and the lotus — and the symbology behind each.
The sphere has symbolized perfection and totality in even the most ancient of cultures. In Greek tradition, Plato described the cosmological picture of the universe as a sphere, thusly:
And he [the Creator] bestowed on it the shape which was befitting and akin. Now for that Living Creature which is designed to embrace within itself all living creatures the fitting shape will be that which comprises within itself all the shapes there are; wherefore he wrought it into a round, in the shape of a sphere, equidistant in all directions from the centre to the extremities, which of all shapes is the most perfect and the most self-similar, since He deemed that the similar is infinitely fairer than the dissimilar.
Muslim cosmogony also embraces this idea of the sphere, and one tradition records the creation of water as resembling a pearl, the size and shape of Heaven and Earth.
Called "the first of all flowers", Ancient Egyptian iconography saw the lotus as the first to appear, with the Demiurge (or creator, artisan) and the Sun appearing from the outspread petals. The lotus is archetypically sexual, and represents birth and rebirth, and also purity.
In Hinduism, the lotus symbolizes spiritual fulfilment, manifestation and realization of potential.
Since the traditional flower has eight petals, just as there are eight major points of the compass in space, the lotus is the symbol of cosmic harmony.
Japanese literature holds the lotus, "flowering unsullied on the muddy waters", as an image of moral standards unsullied by a sordid social environment.
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