Buddhist Flag

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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).


The five colours of the flag represent the six colours of the aura that emanated from the body of the Buddha when he attained Enlightenment:

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