Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Buddhist Flag

The Buddhist flag was designed in 1880 by a group of Buddhist personalities known as the Colombo Committee, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The Wikipedia noted that Colonel Henry Steele Olcott, later made suggestions for modifying it, which were adopted. It was first hoisted in 1885 in Sri Lanka and is a symbol of faith and peace.

Colonel Olcott, a former soldier and lawyer, was the founder of the Theosophical Society of New York. He arrived in Sri Lanka on 17 February 1880 - a day which was subsequently celebrated as Olcott Day in independent Sri Lanka. He was a very colourful, fascinating and forceful evangelist respected for bringing back the rightful status of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and for the demand he made to the British colonialists that Vesak Day be declared a holiday in Sri Lanka.

There are six colours in the flag, but the human eye can see only five. They are described in the Scriptures as emanating from the aura around the Buddha's head. There are 5 vertical stripes of blue, yellow, red, white and orange. The sixth colour is a compound of the first 5, but for design purposes its five ingredients are all shown in small horizontal stripes on the fly.

This design was accepted as the Standard International Buddhist Flag by the World Buddhist Congress in 1952, and has been flying high eversince, signifying universal peace and compassion.

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