128px-Padlock-olive.svg Featured Neutral Emblem White lotus tile icon

The Order of the White Lotus,[1] also known simply as the White Lotus,[5][6] is an ancient and formerly secret society that transcends the boundaries of the four nations, seeking philosophy, beauty, and truth.[1] They are devoted to sharing ancient knowledge across national and political divides.[2] The organization has at times assumed the task of finding, training, and protecting the next Avatar, having done so following the death of Avatar Kuruk and later at the request of Avatar Aang.[3] A leader within the organization, such as Iroh, is known as a Grand Lotus.[1]

Formed by scholars from all over the world, the Order began as a club where ancient masters of various arts could challenge one another on the Pai Sho table.[7] They derived their name from the white lotus tile used in Pai Sho, which is also a key element in their strategy. Membership is communicated through the game itself by placing Pai Sho tiles on the board in a specific manner, forming a bloomed lotus bud with the lotus chip in the center.[2]


Early history

The Order of the White Lotus was already active by the time of Avatar Kuruk and, like the rest of the world, failed to correctly identify Kuruk's successor, resulting in Avatar Kyoshi having an extremely difficult early life. Following the revelation of the latter's identity, an Air Nomad member of the order, Jinpa, indirectly apologized to Kyoshi on his order's behalf. However, when he began at hinting at his organization's existence, Kyoshi did not understand and dismissed him.[8]

Liberation of Ba Sing Se

Liberation of Ba Sing Se

White Lotus members sought to liberate Ba Sing Se from the Fire Nation.

The Order of the White Lotus maintained a low profile until Grand Lotus Iroh gathered its members to liberate Ba Sing Se during the passing of Sozin's Comet at the end of the Hundred Year War. After they helped Sokka, Toph, and Suki by lending them an eel hound in order to arrive at Phoenix King Ozai's airship base, Iroh and Jeong Jeong utilized the power of Sozin's Comet to increase their firebending during the liberation while they worked in conjunction with Pakku utilizing waterbending, King Bumi utilizing earthbending and Piandao utilizing swordmanship.[1]

Public debut and schism

Shortly after the Hundred Year War's conclusion, the society stopped concealing itself from the public eye and began to serve the world and the Avatar more openly, although several aspects of their operations continued to remain secret.[9] Their public debut and open affiliation with the Avatar following the war caused tensions within the order. One member, Xai Bau, believed that the society had been subverted into the "Avatar's bodyguards", causing him to leave the White Lotus and form a splinter faction known as the Red Lotus. The Red Lotus' goal was not only to restore the connection between the mortal and Spirit World, but also to free the human world of all governments, which were by then supported by the Order of the White Lotus.[10]

Avatar Korra's lifetime

After the death of Avatar Aang, a delegation of the Order of White Lotus investigated many claims about the identity of the new Avatar in both the Southern and Northern Water Tribe, all of which turned out to be false. Finally, a delegation of three members traveled to the Southern Water Tribe upon Tonraq and Senna's invitation, identifying Korra to be the next Avatar.[5]

Around 158 AG, the order imprisoned the Red Lotus members Ghazan, Ming-Hua, P'Li, and Zaheer in four maximum security facilities for attempting to kidnap the Avatar. These prisons were guarded by White Lotus sentries and held the criminals for thirteen years. The order also attempted to discern the criminals' motives for their kidnapping, but received no answers.[6][11][12]

Katara and the Order of the White Lotus

Despite concerns over her lack of spiritual understanding, the Order of the White Lotus allowed Korra to commence her airbending training.

Tasked by Avatar Aang at the end of his life, the Order of the White Lotus kept the next Avatar safe until he or she had completed his or her training; however, it was Aang's younger son, Tenzin, and the next Avatar's father, Tonraq, who insisted on keeping Korra at the South Pole. As such, the White Lotus directly oversaw Korra's development and training of each element at a compound in the Southern Water Tribe.[5] Acting as her bodyguards, White Lotus sentries were sent to remain with the Avatar on Air Temple Island to watch her actions as she commenced her airbending training under Tenzin's tutelage. At their quarters, the sentries spent a large part of their time listening to the pro-bending broadcasts on the radio. Korra took advantage of the sentries' distraction to leave the island twice, much to Tenzin's annoyance.[13]

White Lotus sentries bending

White Lotus sentries attempted to fight off the Equalists' invasion of Air Temple Island.

As the Equalists attacked Air Temple Island during the battle for Republic City, the White Lotus sentries bravely confronted the Equalist attackers. They launched a barrage of firebending, earthbending, and waterbending attacks, and with the help of Lin Beifong and Tenzin's children, they managed to defeat the first wave of invaders. The tides quickly changed, however, when more Equalists arrived on the island.[14] Realizing the battle was lost, the inhabitants of the island fled by sky bison. Though outnumbered, the White Lotus sentries remained behind in order to give Team Avatar enough time to escape on Naga. However, the sentries were captured and placed in line with other captured benders, awaiting the removal of their bending at the hands of Amon.[15] After the Equalists were defeated, the sentries' bending was restored by Korra using energybending.[16]


Order of the White Lotus flag

The flag of the Order of the White Lotus features the shape of a lotus flower.

Iroh, a lover of Pai Sho, was a Grand Master and a Grand Lotus of the Order who often advocated that Pai Sho was "more than just a game".[2] Piandao was also an important member of the Order; he offered his student Sokka a white lotus tile as a parting gift, which was symbolic of his membership in the Order. The image of the white lotus on the hilt of Sokka's sword and on the doors of Piandao's estate were also references to Piandao's membership.[17]

Shortly before the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Master Pakku, King Bumi, and Jeong Jeong also accompanied Iroh as members of the organization, although none had shown symbols of the Order when Team Avatar saw them before. Other members were also visible in the campsite.[1]

Seventy years later, the Order was no longer a secret society, and was instead dedicated to protecting the Avatar during their training. Many more members were present in the Order than in the past, including a leader and many sentries that are lower-ranking members of the Order tasked with duties such as guarding the Avatar.[5]

The Order is also responsible for guarding various high-class criminals in specially-designed prisons located all over the world.[6][18]


White Lotus sentries

White Lotus sentries watched the arrival of Equalists on Air Temple Island.

During the liberation of Ba Sing Se, the members of the Order all wore a distinct indigo-colored outfit with white details, a similarly colored cape and a Lotus patterned mantle around the shoulders. They also have a flag, bearing an image of the white lotus. Iroh, a Grand Lotus, seemed to have more to his vestments, with indigo-colored armor and a robe under all of the other pieces, based off the white lotus flower.[1]

Over the course of seventy years, the uniforms have changed slightly and vary according to rank. For example, the uniform of a White Lotus sentry includes a cowl with a small insignia on the front, whereas the uniform of a higher-ranking member does not include the headpiece.[5]

Known members

Playing Pai Sho

The use of a white lotus tile and the formation of the lotus pattern during a game of Pai Sho signaled the player to be a member of the order.


  • The Order of the White Lotus' organization mimics that of the Freemasons, another allegedly ancient "society of secrets", whose members of many different cultures and views stretch all over the world.
  • The Order of the White Lotus shares part of its name with the White Lotus, which was a religious and political movement in China forced into secrecy by the Mongols.
  • In Hinduism, the white lotus flower symbolizes beauty and non-attachment. Beauty is one of the virtues of the Order of the White Lotus and the society is not attached to any government or region. It also represents beauty coming out of murkiness, as in the lotus blooms in algae-filled ponds. This represents great wisdom and team effort rising up despite the somber situation in the world.
  • The organization's initials spell out OWL, an animal that is often associated with wisdom in western culture. It is to be noted that the members of the Order are considered among the wisest scholars in the Avatar World.
  • Pakku referred to Iroh as a Grand Lotus, a member who has the power to call together the Order. This suggests the possibility there may be more than one Grand Lotus at any given time.[1]
  • All known members of the Order of the White Lotus before the conclusion of the Hundred Year War were masters of their art and most are high-ranking members of their military and society.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (July 14, 2006). "The Desert". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Welcome to Republic City. Nickelodeon (April 6, 2012). Retrieved on April 6, 2012.
  4. Avatar Extras for "The Desert" on Nicktoons Network.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "Welcome to Republic City". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Heck, Colin, Zwyer, Melchior (directors). (June 27, 2014). "Rebirth". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  7. The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Character: Order of the White Lotus. Tumblr. Retrieved on October 26, 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Thirty-Two, "Hauntings". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  9. The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book One: Air, page 34.
  10. 10.0 10.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (August 1, 2014). "The Stakeout". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 9.
  11. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian. (June 27, 2014). "The Earth Queen". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  12. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (July 11, 2014). "In Harm's Way". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  13. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "A Leaf in the Wind". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  14. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 16, 2012). "Turning the Tides". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  15. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Skeletons in the Closet". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  16. Maricela Gonzalez (2013-09-13). 'Legend of Korra' season 2 premiere: The creators answer our burning questions. Retrieved on September 14, 2013.
  17. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 12, 2007). "Sokka's Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  18. Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Heck, Colin, Zwyer, Melchior (directors). (June 27, 2014). "A Breath of Fresh Air". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Order of the White Lotus

  • White Lotus vs. The Red Lotus

    5 messages
    • I just realized I mixed up Pakku & Piandao. I wondered why Ming-Hua was fighting a dude with a sword, this makes way more sense. In that ca...
    • Iroh Vs Zaheer. Considering both of them in their shown prime, that means that Iroh is on his form after the prison breakout with his trai...
  • White Lotus and Free Mason Analogy is Seriously Flawed.

    25 messages
    • Okay, bye pot. You won't be missed. Oh, but on the off-chance you actually care about this random trivia point for some reason other t...
    • Is there even any source to that mimicry? Considering ATLA's themes, i would say the probability of the OWL being inspired by asian sec...
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.