Global photo stories–Photographs and stories of world cultures, nature, wildlife and global learning. There are many beautiful planters at the Grand Palace of Thailand. Some of the planters are filled with water to grow the lotus flowers. Not only are these flowers lovely, they are symbolic for Buddhism and Hinduism and other religions. Since over ninety percent of Thais are Buddhists, the lotus is a reminder of the spiritual messages of Buddha in Thailand. The lotus germinates from the muddy bottom of the urn, but it rises above the murk to become a beautiful flower. While there are several different colors of lotus flowers, the purple lotus is more rare and spiritual. I took this photograph of the lotus in late morning when the reflection from a nearby spire added to the beauty of the water setting inside the urn. With this global photo story, I salute the universal message of the lotus that we can rise above the murk, or challenges in our lives, to bloom.