Celebrate Vesak , Fly the Buddhist Flag !

By Chen Hsiongcai

Vesak commemorates the Noble Birth, Attainment of Enlightenment and the passing into Maha-Parinibbana of our Lord Buddha.

On the joyous Vesak Day, it is a time when all Buddhists regardless of traditions, schools, sects and lineages gather and unite with Pride, Identity and Gratitude before our original teacher - Sakyamuni Buddha to give thanks & praises to Him.This year's campaign "Celebrate the Vesak , Fly the Buddhist Flag" is going on for the third year and we hope to continue to bring this Joy of Vesak to all buddhist homes and shops as well as raising awareness of Vesak to buddhists.

The Buddhist Flag consist of 6 auspicious Auras that Buddha emanated upon Enlightement and it's explanation of 6 colours are as below:

Blue symbolises Confidence
Yellow symbolises Holiness
Red symbolises Wisdom
White symbolises Purity
Orange symbolises Desirelessness
Combination Colour symbolises the Universality of the Buddha's teachings.

The Buddhist flag was invented in 1880 by an American journalist, Colonel Henry Steele Olcott. Olcott was a fascinating character. A former soldier and lawyer, he set up the Theosophical Society of New York. He arrived in Sri Lanka with the renowned spiritualist Madame Blavatsky on 17 February 1880 - a day which was subsequently celebrated as Olcott Day in independent Sri Lanka. He founded the Buddhist Theosophical Society, devised a Buddhist catechism, encouraged Buddhist versions of Christmas carols and cards, and inspired the founding of Buddhist schools and the Young Men's Buddhist Association.

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 body. There are 5 vertical stripes of red, yellow, blue, white and orange. The sixth colour is a compound of the first 5, but for design purposes its five ingredients are all shown i! n small horizontal stripes on the flag.

Many Buddhists have misconcepttions for owning and hanging the Buddhist Flag. Many thinks that Buddhist Flags are only to be hung in temples and not homes/shops/etc. In fact, this is wrong because this Buddhist flag was specially and desinged for all Buddhists like you and me. It is just like national day whenby you hang the National flag to express your love for the country. Likewise, hanging the Buddhist Flag also expresses our Love and pride of being a Buddhist. Please bring this Joy of Vesak back to your home and share it with your family,friends,relatives and even your neighbours !

The prices ranges from 10 dollars to 40 dollars depending on the quality or you can purchase the Buddhist flag at the various Buddhist Bookshops - Classifield Section of

Due to the over-whelming response for the past 2 years, we are promoting this Vesak Awareness campaign earlier as to bring a wider awareness of Vesak to all buddhists.Those who wish to help or participate to promote this campaign, please e-mail to me at or contact me at 9 8572829.

So make a resolution for this Vesak 2002 , Fly the Buddhist Flag ! If you are not in Singapore and wish to participate in this event, please also refer to your local buddhist bookshops or buddhist organisations.

May the Buddha-Dhamma spread far & wide !


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