Extending Your Hand of Friendship by Making a Paper Lotus Flower

A handmade paper lotus flower as a kind gesture of friendship and peace. (Image: via Janine Rankin)

The lotus flower has a significant meaning of purity in traditional Chinese culture. Here, the lotus flower is shown to represent peace After experiencing the making of a paper lotus flower, it can enhance and deepen your understanding of purity and peacefulness within your heart.

 The Petals of Peace project was inspired by Jane Dai and her daughter Fadu. They both overcame painful family tragedy by bravely sharing their heartfelt story to the world in the hope that other innocent children would no longer have to suffer injustice.

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Mother and daughter, Jane and Fadu. Image: Janine Rankin
Mother and daughter, Jane and Fadu. (Image: via Janine Rankin)

After experiencing the tragic loss of her husband in China, then starting a new life in Australia, inspiration came when Jane reflected on the lotus flower. The lotus flower rises from the murky mud deep below the water and rises high above the water, becoming a beautiful, pristine, clean flower. Jane thought to herself: “I too can rise above my tragedy.”

Jane Dai’s husband died when he peacefully went to appeal the banning of Falun Dafa in China on July 20, 1999. The family enjoyed the peaceful meditation practice and believed the ban to be unjust. Jane and her daughter realized how they could bring awareness about the benefits of Falun Dafa to people through the beauty of the lotus flower. It would help to purify their hearts and minds as well, instead of maintaining negative thoughts of their loss.

The paper lotus flower is part of Petals of Peace

The Petals of Peace Project was initiated in Australia in 2003. The making of paper lotus flowers was freely taught in places like schools, festivals, groups, and markets in Australia. Janine Rankin joined the project at its beginning and began teaching children how to make paper lotus flowers and the meaning behind the project. While folding the paper, participants and onlookers learn about the principles of Falun Dafa — to be truthful, to have kindness and compassion, and to be tolerant.

Janine Rankin teaching children how to make a paper lotus flower at a local market. Image:Janine Rankin
Janine Rankin teaching children how to make a paper lotus flower at a local market. (Image: via Janine Rankin)

Janine teaches children how to fold the paper lotus flower while gently speaking to them. Depending on the child’s interest, Janine says some kind words for them to think about while making their paper lotus flower.

Below are some words she might say:

  • This project is inspired by the story of a little Australian-Chinese girl, Fadu, and her mother Jane who both practice Falun Dafa. The lotus flower is connected to a spiritual practice called Falun Dafa that teaches you to be a better person and is practiced all around the world but not in China.
  • If the child is more attentive then I tell them about Jane and Fadu, and their journey around the world and what they have achieved by speaking up for what is right. Jane Dai was awarded the Turtle Award in Australia, for speaking her truth.
  • The lotus flower is a great teacher, as it grows and rises out of the murky mud and rises up to the sky and then becomes pristine clean. So for us, it reminds us also to look at our own thoughts when they are muddy and murky and to purify our thoughts, so we too can be like the lotus flower, pristinely clean.
  • You can keep the lotus flower in your bedroom and remind yourself of the three words, to be truthful, to be kind and to be patient, this is a good way to improve yourself.

The Petals of Peace project invites children, as well as people of all ages, to fold a paper lotus flower as a gesture of peace and friendship to children less fortunate. It is symbolic of extending a hand of friendship to less fortunate children, like Fadu.

Janine teaching how to make a paper lotus flower with children choosing bright coloured origami paper. Image: Janine Rankin
Janine at a festival teaching children how to make paper lotus flowers with brightly colored origami paper. (Image: via Janine Rankin)

The process of making the lotus flower is in itself rewarding, as it brings out the beauty from within yourself and touches your heart. It is also very rewarding to see children experiencing so much joy when making a lotus flower.

One year, Janine visited the Queen of Peace School to teach the children how to make paper lotus flowers and we gave them cards to write on and send to the United Nations with their heartfelt messages. 

These are some of the quotes from the children:

Paper lotus flowers made from origami paper and coloured easy to fold paper. Image:Trisha Haddock
Paper lotus flowers made from origami paper. (Image: via Trisha Haddock)

The Petals of Peace website is now translated into several different languages. Practitioners of Falun Dafa are spreading Petals of Peace throughout the world. Many cultures are learning about the significance of the lotus flower and it’s meaning of purity, and how Falun Dafa exercises and meditation can also purify your heart and mind.  

The smile and delight on the children’s face after making a paper lotus flower is a great joy for all who participate. Here you can view the website: petalsofpeace.org to create your own beautiful paper lotus flowers.

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