International Buddhist Flag

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Flag of Buddhism.svg
Buddhist flags at the Guangji Temple in Beijing

The International Buddhist Flag is a modern creation and has been recognized as a symbol of international Buddhism since 1950 on the occasion of the establishment of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) in Colombo , Sri Lanka .


The International Buddhist Flag was first used in Colombo on Vesakh Day in 1885 (April 28, 1885). It was designed by Buddhist activists of the “Colombo Committee” and was intended to serve as a symbol for the revival of Buddhism in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), especially since Vesakh day was established as a holiday this year. On the advice of the American theosophist Colonel Henry Steel Olcott , the flag was given the dimensions and shape customary for national flags. It was also his intention that the flag should serve as a symbol of the unification of Buddhism, which is represented in very different forms around the world. Today the flag is recognized worldwide among Buddhists, although there are specific shapes, such as the Burmese, which uses pink as the fifth color instead of the orange color (actually scarlet red in the original design).

The six colors in which the aura of the Buddha shone after he had achieved enlightenment (see also Bodhi ) served as inspiration . The first five vertical colors symbolize the five Buddhist values ​​(the five silas ).

Over time, the flag developed into a symbol of Buddhist unity and, as such, spread around the world. You can see it especially during Buddhist festivals, such as B. Vesakh -Festival, the highest Buddhist festival, in commemoration of the birth, enlightenment and death (Parinibbana) of the Buddha.

The flag has a special position in Tibet , where it can be seen over many monasteries and houses of Buddhists. In the Tibetan version, however, the orange bar is replaced by a red-brown one, as the colors here are based on those of the monk's robes of the various orders (see also Tibetan Buddhism ).


Blue symbolizes universal compassion.
Yellow symbolizes the middle way.
Red symbolizes the blessings of practice (perfection, wisdom, virtue, happiness and sublimity).
White symbolizes the purity of the Dharma (the teaching) and complete liberation beyond the bounds of time and space.
Orange symbolizes the wisdom of the Buddha's teaching.

The sixth vertical line symbolizes with the unity of all colors the one, transcendent truth or the “one taste - the taste of liberation”, which characterizes the teaching of the Buddha.

Web links

Commons : International Buddhist Flag  Album with Pictures, Videos and Audio Files