Udumbara is a very tiny plant described in the Mahayana Buddhism’s scripture, : “A mythical flower, blooming once every 3,000 years, heralding the advent of the King of the Golden Wheel.”
Further, in the eighth volume of the Buddhist scripture ‘Hulin Phonetics and interpretations,’ it’s stated that:
“Udumbara is the product of ominous and supernatural phenomena; it is a celestial flower and does not exist in the mundane world. If a Tathagata or King of the Golden Wheel appears in the human world, these flowers will manifest due to their great virtue and blessings.”
The is often employed as a symbol for the rarity of encountering a Buddha or hearing a Buddha’s teaching. The “King Wonderful Adornment” (twenty-seventh) chapter of the Lotus Sutra says, “Encountering the Buddha is as difficult as encountering the flower”, so it is very difficult to find this flower. The last time a sighting of the Udumbara recorded was before the birth of the historic Gautama Buddha, according to ancient scriptures.
The name Udumbara comes from the ancient Sanskrit language, meaning an auspicious flower from heaven. Udumbara flowers are a tiny white tulip-shaped flower that grows on a white thread-like stem. The flowers do not have leaves or roots, and they grow on anything. Udumbara flowers do not need water or soil to grow, and there are no seeds to plant. These tiny and gorgeous flower measures just 1mm in diameter, so it’s really hard to spot without magnifying lens. But once it finally blossoms, it omits a sweet and distinct sandalwood fragrance which fills up the entire area.