A close-up of one of the several lotus ponds at the entrance to the Temple of Education, Hanoi's first University. The lotus is an important symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, and it was even an important symbol to the ancient Egyptians. The lotus in both Egypt and India symbolizes a coming together of the four elements; earth, air, fire, and water. The roots of a lotus are in the mud of the earth, it grows in water and is nourished by it, the stem grows up through the water, its leaves are nourished by air and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight. It blooms through the power of the sun's fire. This manner of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment. The lotus, therefore, represents the perfection of the fourfold order of the natural world.