The International Buddhist Flag was adopted as the universal symbol of Buddhist faith more than half a century ago. In Malaysia, this vibrant, multi-coloured symbol of peace is ubiquitous in temples and Buddhist centres during Wesak celebrations, but is barely visible for the rest of the year. As such, Nalanda Buddhist Society and the Theravada Buddhist Council of Malaysia are currently running a campaign aimed at educating the community on the meaning and symbolism of the flag, and to encourage Buddhists to fly the flag at home during Wesak month.
Ever wondered why the Buddhist Flag is so colourful?
Well, they were not originally intended to be attention-grabbing; but they are undoubtedly conspicuous and eye-catching! You see, the Flag was designed way back in 1885 in Sri Lanka. Back then, the emerging modern Buddhist movement needed a peaceful yet potent symbol to rally followers around.
The Buddhist Flag was first hoisted in Sri Lanka on Wesak Day, 28 April 1885, when the country was still under British colonial rule. At that time, the majority Sinhalese Buddhist population felt discriminated against by the colonial authorities when carrying out their religious activities, as well as pressurized by relentless foreign evangelism. The Buddhists needed an icon to peacefully rally around, and hence, the idea of the ‘Buddhist Flag’ was conceived.
Malaysian Buddhists will be observing ‘Wesak Day’ on Sunday, 3 May 2015. We joyfully invite all devotees to display the Buddhist Flag at their homes to foster unity, fidelity, and a stronger sense of community spirit. The Theravada Council of Malaysia has recommended Buddhists to fly the flag for the entire month of Wesak (‘Vesakha’). Let us heed the call and look forward to observing Wesak with faith and fervor.
The Buddhist Flag was first hoisted in Sri Lanka on Wesak Day (28 April) in 1885, when the country was still under colonial rule. The majority Sinhalese Buddhist population then felt discriminated against by the colonial authorities when carrying out their religious activities, as well as pressurized by relentless evangelism. The Buddhists needed an icon to peacefully rally around, and hence, the Buddhist Flag was initiated.
When we gaze at the Buddhist Flag, we see a potent symbol of faith, global unity and world peace. The colours of the flag exemplify the Buddhist ideal of harmony among all nationalities and beliefs, and the universally-accepted, all encompassing truth of Dhamma.