Last modified: 2013-11-24 by rob raeside
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Flag seen on monasteries of Tibetan schools:
image by Roman Kogovsek
This flag can be see hanging out across Nepal in the monasteries of Tibetan
schools. This flag would seem from the filename to be a type of Buddhist flag
used in Nepal *and* India. Here the saffron is replaced with a plum color.
Eugene Ipavec, 27 June 2005
Flags of unknown significance:
image by Roman Kogovsek
image by Ivan Sarajcic, 7 November 2005
This is the dream flag created by the late XVIth Karmapa, a major Tibetan master
of the Karma-Kagyupa school. He explains how he created it and his meaning here:
He explained thus:
At the level of relative truth, the blue is the sky (heaven), symbolizing spiritual insight and vision, and the yellow is the earth, the actual world of our everyday experience. The symmetry of the wave pattern shows how we come to understand their interdependence when we practice the dharma. As a reminder of absolute truth, the blue symbolizes the wisdom, or emptiness aspect of awakened being, while the yellow stands for the compassion aspect. The wavy intermingling of the two colors represents their inseparability. The interdependence shown in the flag can also be seen as the wisdom of Mahamudra, the ultimate realization of ones true nature.
Eugene Ipavec, 30 June 2005
The tricolor white-blue-red with the yellow disk may be the flag of the Sakya
school of the Tibetan Buddhism. We can see the tricolor with (or not) the yellow
circle on these websites :
I didn't find any explanation of the flag.
Corentin Chamboredon, 20 May 2007
image by Tomislav Todorovic, 14 November 2010
Tibetan Buddhist flag in Dharamsala, India
A flag hoisted over a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Dharamsala, India, was photographed on 2008-02-19 and posted at Flickr (link broken): www.flickr.com/photos/mattlinden/4100349775/.
The colors were blue, white, green, yellow and red; in the "combination color" field, this order was changed, with yellow and red swapping places. As in the case of Japanese Buddhist flags, the colors certainly represent five Dhyani Buddhas, whose worshipping is the most pronounced in Tibetan Buddhism.
Tomislav Todorovic, 14 November 2010
Mahakala (a.k.a. the Great Black Lord) is an important boddhisattva in Tibetan Buddhism.
A boddhisattva reached the state of Buddha, but willingly decided to
birth again in the real life (Samsara) to help the other forms of life on
their way to liberation from pain. Boddhisatvas are specific of the
so-called Mahayana ('to help the others', Great Vehicle) Buddhism, as
opposed to the original Theravada ('not to harm anyone', Small Vehicle).
Among the three forms of the Awaken Spirit, Mahakala/Avalokiteshvara represents the Boddhisatva of Compassion. To make the things even more difficult, each boddhisatva may appear under two expressions, one peaceful and one incensed. Mahakala is incensed. He rides a tiger or a snow lion and trample underfoot a human or animal representation of the ego. He stands for the force which destroys the illusion obstructing the access to awakening.
Mahakala is represented by a small statue in one of the temples of the monastery of Shey (Ladakh). Interestingly, the statue is 'charged' with several flags directly pinned into the deity's head. The flags are dark green pennants with a red border and a white eye in the middle - I guess to symbolize the awakening.
I saw several representations of Mahakala in Ladakhi and Zanskari monasteries - he is probably the deity easiest to identify and usually painted inside the temples over the entrance door, as a protecting deity. Anyway, he was decorated with flags only in Shey temple.
Ivan Sache, 31 August 2001
image by Corentin Chamboredon, 2 April 2007
This flag is used by Tibetan refugees living in
Darjeeling. It is called the Drukpa flag. So far it is used only as a print
image. Upper half: dark blue with yellow prayer wheel in upper right corner with
three Tibetan characters in its center. Lower half: red with a Buddhist symbol
of eternity in the lower left corner. Middle: a dragon, very similar to the
Bhutanese dragon (also with apples in its claws).
Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005
This is the flag of the Drukpa tradition of the Kagyupa school, which is the
main one in Bhutan and in several areas of Kham. The
website of the lineage explains this:
"The flag was designed by H.H. the Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa. The color BLUE symbolizes Chakrasamvara, the principal male deity of the Drukpa lineage and a representation of Great Compassion. The color RED symbolizes Vajra Yogini, the principal female deity of the Drukpa lineage and a representation of Great Wisdom. The DHARMA WHEEL with Druk written in Tibetan represents the teaching of the Universal Truth being spread by the Drukpa or the Dragon lineage. The AUSPICIOUS KNOT represents the heart-essence of Bodhicitta. And the WHITE DRAGON represents the yogic lineage of the Drukpa."
Corentin Chamboredon, 2 April 2007
image located by Corentin Chamboredon, 8 April 2007
Here is a flag presented as the flag of the Nyingmapa order of the Tibetan
Buddhism. I found it in the Google's cache for a commercial website selling
different Buddhist items. They told me it was really used as a religious order
flag. It has a turquoise blue field. There is a very complicated central device.
It is a piece of traditional Tibetan art, with different colours. On top there
is a burning sword on an altar. Just in front of it we can see what I suppose to
be a Tibetan book (in Tibet, books have a different shape than occidental ones,
they are larger than longer and open backward and not leftward as ours). The
altar is supported by lotus flowers and surrounded by green and blue leaves.
There are also two birds on each side (green on the right, red on the left).
The lotus flowers root in the water. The final element is a red scroll with
Tibetan script on the left and right, and the word NYINGMAPA in the center in
Corentin Chamboredon, 8 April 2007