Buddhist Flag has blue-yellow-red-white-orange vertical stripes, each
1/6 of the distance from the hoist. The sixth stripe consists of 5
horizontal stripes of the same color starting from the top. The right
hand vertical orange stripe merges with the bottom horizontal orange
The Buddhist flag
was invented in 1880 by an American journalist, Colonel Henry Steele Olcott. Olcott was a fascinating character. A former soldier and lawyer,
he set up the Theosophical Society of New York. He arrived in Sri Lanka
with the renowned spiritualist Madame Blavatsky on 17 February 1880 - a
day which was subsequently celebrated as Olcott Day in independent Sri
Lanka. He founded the Buddhist Theosophical Society, devised a Buddhist
catechism, encouraged Buddhist versions of Christmas carols and cards,
and inspired the founding of Buddhist schools and the Young Men's
Buddhist Association. The Buddhist flag, first hoisted in 1885 in Sri
Lanka, is a symbol of faith and peace used through-out the world to
represent the Buddhist faith.
It is said that the
six colors of the flag represent the colors of the aura that emanated
from the body of the Buddha when he attained enlightenment under the
Bodhi Tree. The horizontal stripes represent the races of the world
living in harmony and the vertical stripes represent eternal world
peace. The colors symbolize the perfection of Buddhahood and the Dhamma.
light that radiated from the Buddha’s hair symbolizes the spirit of
Universal Compassion for all beings (faith and confidence).
light that radiated from the
Buddha’s epidermis symbolizes the Middle Way which avoids all extremes
and brings balance and liberation (Holiness).
light that radiated from the Buddha’s flesh symbolizes the blessings that
the practice of the Buddha’s Teaching brings (Wisdom).
White light that
radiated from the Buddha's bones and teeth symbolizes the purity of the
Buddha's Teaching and the liberation it brings (purity).
light that radiated from the Buddha’s palms, heels and lips symbolizes
the unshakable Wisdom of the Buddha’s Teaching (Desire less ness).
The combination color
symbolizes the universality of the Truth of the Lord Buddha’s Teaching.
The essence of
Buddhism which is full of wisdom, strength and dignity. Combination of
these colours signifies that it is the one and only Truth. The
horizontal bars signify peace and harmony between all races through out
the world while the vertical bars represent eternal peace within the
world. In simple terms, the Buddhist Flag implies that there is no
discrimination of races, nationality, areas or skin colour; that every
living beings possess the Buddha Nature and all have the potential to
become a Buddha.
overall flag represents that regardless of race, nationality, division
or color, all sentient beings possess the potential of Buddhahood.
Buddhists have misconceptions about owning and hanging the Buddhist
Flag. Many people may think that Buddhist Flags are only to be hung in
temples and Buddhist centres and not at residential homes/shops/etc. In
fact, this is a great misconception because this Buddhist flag was
specially and designed for all Buddhists. Hanging the Buddhist Flag
expresses our Love and Pride of being a Buddhist.