A flag (patàka or dhaja) is a piece of fabric of a particular colour or design used for decoration or more usually to represent something. The flag now widely used to represent Buddhism was designed by the American Buddhist Henry Steel Olcott in the 1880’s as a part of his efforts to unite the Buddhists of Sri Lanka in their struggle against foreign missionaries. The flag is rectangular, with six vertical bars - blue, yellow, red, white, orange and finally a combination of all five. These stripes represent the coloured rays that emanated from the Buddha’s body when he attained enlightenment (Vin.I,25).
|Blue (Nila): Loving kindness, peace and universal compassion|
|Yellow (Pita): The Middle Path - avoiding extremes, emptiness|
|Red (Lohita): The blessings of practice - achievement, wisdom, virtue, fortune and dignity|
|White (Odata): The purity of Dhamma - leading to liberation, outside of time or space|
|Orange (Manjesta): The Buddha's teachings - wisdom|