'Rare Buddhist flower' found in central Vietnam

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A family in central Vietnam said they have discovered what they think is a rarely seen "Buddhist flower" on a window of their house.

The Youtan Poluo or Udumbara flower, which according to Buddhist legend, only blooms every 3,000 years, measures just about one millimeter in diameter. Udambara in Sanskrit means "an auspicious flower from heaven."

Dinh Go and his wife Bui Thi Tu of Diem Dien Hamlet, An Ninh Tay Commune, Tuy An District, Phu Yen Province, found what they think are the Udumbara flowers on the aluminum frame and iron bars of a window on their house on June 3.

They found a total of 35 white "flowers" in groups of between 5 and 20.

The "flowers" have attracted many visitors to the house of the elder couple over the past days, including some monks who have confirmed that it was the rare "Buddhist flower."

Many locals believe that the flowers bring good luck.

However, according to an article on The Epoch Times web site, some experts think that people have mistaken eggs of an insect called the green lacewing (Chrysopa) to be Udumbara flowers because of their similar appearance.

LACEWING EGGS: Under a microscope, lacewing eggs can be seen as elliptical grains without petal or stamen-like structures. (Courtesy of the Epoch Times)

According to the article, the larvae of lacewings are called aphid lions. When laying eggs, the female oozes sticky glue and lifts up its belly to form a slender stalk. White eggs are laid on the slender stalks to keep the young larvae from eating each other after they hatch. The alleged Udumbara flower is of a size similar to lacewing eggs and also sits on a slender stalk.

Over the past two decades, there have been reports of discovering the Udumbara around the world since 24 flowers were found on the chest of a copper statue at a pagoda in South Korea in July 1997. It was later found in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, France and the US. In Vietnam, similar case was reported in 2009 in Quang Nam Province, and in early May in Hai Phong City.

The Udumbara flower have great significance in Hinduism and Buddhism and in both philosophies, flowers play a great role and often symbolize virtues like purity or fertility.

The first recorded-sighting of an Udumbara flower in Korea was in 1997, exactly 3,024 lunar years after Buddhism first emerged, the Telegraph reported. 

Given that compared to three millennia, a few decades here or there is nothing, Youtan Poluo seems to be pretty much right on time, it said.

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