Buddhist Tradition

International Buddhist Flag


International Buddhist Flag
Recognized by All Buddhist Traditions

The Buddhist flag, first hoisted in 1885 in Sri Lanka, is a symbol of faith and peace used throughout the world to represent the Buddhist faith.

The six colors; Blue (nila), Yellow (pita), Red (lohita), White (odata), Scarlet (manjestha), and the mixture of these six colors (prabaswara) of the flag represent the colors of the aura that emanated from the body of the Buddha when He attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.

The Horizontal Stripes represent the races of the world living in harmony and the Vertical Stripes represent eternal world peace. The colors symbolize the perfection of Buddhahood and the Dharma.

The Blue light that radiated from the Buddha's hair symbolizes the spirit of Universal Compassion for all beings.

The Yellow light that radiated from the Buddha's epidermis symbolizes the Middle Way which avoids all extremes and brings balance and liberation.

The Red light that radiated from the Buddha's flesh symbolizes the blessings that the practice of the Buddha's Teaching brings.

The White light that radiated from the Buddha's bones and teeth symbolizes the purity of the Buddha's Teaching and the liberation it brings.

The Orange light that radiated from the Buddha's palms, heels and lips symbolizes the unshakable Wisdom of the Buddha's Teaching. The Combination Color symbolizes the universality of the Truth of the Buddha's Teaching. (Burmese Buddhist replaced with Pink.)

Therefore, the overall flag represents that:

Regardless of race, nationality, division or color, all sentient beings possess the potential of Buddhahood.

The six colors are better interpreted as :

1. Blue: signifying the concept of loving kindness and peace in Buddhism

2. Yellow: signifying the Middle Path, that is, the complete absence of form and emptiness

3. Red: signifying achievement, wisdom, virtue, fortune and dignity.
4. White: signifying purity, emancipation, that the Dharma will always exist regardless of time or space.
5. *Orange: The essence of Buddhism which is full of wisdom, strength and dignity.
6. The combination of these five colors symbolizes that it is the one and only Truth.

The horizontal bars signify peace and harmony between all races through out the world while the vertical bars represent eternal peace within the world. In simple terms, the Buddhist Flag implies that there is no discrimination of races, nationality, areas or skin color; that every living being possess the Buddha Nature and all have the potential to become a Buddha.


The earliest Buddhist icon was Ashokab edicts inscribed on monothlithic stone pillars found not in India, but as far ends as Agfanistan and Pakistan.

SwastikaChinese called it, "WAN" Zi, Japanese named it "MAN" Ji, Tibetan read it as "GYUNG-DRUNG" or GEG-GSANG. The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit means, "conducive to well- being". S-vasti in Sanskrit is "It's well"

Swastika is a symbol of prosperity and good fortune and is widely dispersed in both the ancient and modern world. It originally represented the revolving sun, fire, or life. The swastika was widely utilized in ancient Mesopotamian coinage as well as appearing in early Christian and Byzantium art, where it was known as the gammadion cross. The swastika also appeared in South and Central America, widely used in Mayan art during that time period.

Swastika is an equilateral cross with arms bent at right angles, all in the same direction, usually the right, or clockwise. In North America, the swastika was a symbol used by the Navajos. The swastika still continues today to be an extensively used sign in Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism.

In Buddhism, a Swastika represents resignation. Usually found in the images of Buddha on His chest, palms, soles of feet. In Jainism, it delineates their seventh saint, and the four arms are also used to remind the worshiper of the four possible places of rebirth; the animal or plant world, in Hell, on Earth, or in the spirit world. To Hindus, the swastika with the arms bent to the left is called the sathio or sauvastika, which symbolizes night, magic, purity, and the destructive goddess Kali.

In both Hinduism and Jainism, the Swastika or sathio is used to mark the opening pages or their account books, thresholds, doors, and offerings. The swastika was a symbol for the Aryan people, a name which, in Sanskrit means "noble". The Aryans were a group of people who settled in Iran and Northern India. They believed themselves to be a pure race, superior to the other surrounding cultures.

Historical Use of the Swastika
Was Atlantis the birthplace of the Swastika? Or The fabled motherland called Mu? Found on the genital shields of aboriginal Brazilian women. Greek priestesses branded Swastikas on their arms. Goddess figures dug up at ancient Troy by Dr. Schliemann have Swastikas on the vulva. Romans took the Swastika with them on their march across Europe. Most antiquarians agree that Egyptians had no Swastika except those taken there by Coptic Christians.

As An Eastern Cultural Symbol
A magical sign tattooed on women to ensure fertility. Gold weights from West Africa. A favorite ornament in China and Japan. Ninja throwing stars. Tattooed on monks in Tibet. The Dalai Lama's throne is always decorated with four Swastikas. In India people mark their cows, fields, homes, shrines with the Swastika, a sign of good luck and fertility. When the last czar of Russia was imprisoned with his family in 1917, the Romanoff girls embroidered lucky swastikas on fabric before their deaths by the Bolsheviks.

As a Mystical Symbol
Hindu uses. Sacred Fire. Ganesha. Every holy spot is marked with a Swastika. Sacred Heart of Buddha. Buddha's footprints marked with Swastikas. The Jains, who believe in non-violence, make the sign of the Swastika as often as Catholics make the sign of the cross. In Bali, Shiva's lingam (penis) is a Swastika. Christian symbol from the catacombs. Gnostic graffiti includes Swastikas and Stars of David side by side. Occult Swastikas include Theosophists, Rosicrucians, Masons, Golden Dawn, Transcendental Meditation, Pythagorus, Madame Blavatsky, Krishnamurti, Rudolf Steiner, William Butler Yeats. Aliester Crowley claimed Hitler stole the Swastika from him.

As An Archetypal Symbol

The Swavastika or backwards Swastika. Types of Swastikas. Various names for the Swastika-- Hakenkreuz, Gammadion, Fylfot, Tetraskelion, Meander. Amulets, talismans and hex signs.

Adolf Hitler adopted the left-handed symbol. During his campaign, 6 millions Jews died in his hand during WWII. Hence, the icon caused confusion to many Europeans and Jews to think it was a similiar icon used by the Eastern faiths (Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism). The right hand ( clockwise)Swastika used by these religions which practice ahimsa ( non-violence) since ancient time. It should never be mistaken as the left-hand (counterclockwise) Swastika .

Medicine Buddha

Bhaisajyaguru (Sanskrit) or Yakushi Nyorai (Japanese) or Sangs-ryas (Tibetan) or Sman-bla (Mongolian) or Yao Shi Fo better known as Medicine Buddha according to Northern Tradition is reside in Eastern Paradise. He and Amitabha Buddha are in 2 opposite poles.

Bhaisajyaguru has 7 bodies,12 warriors (Yakas or Titans) according to this wonderful book , "Buddhism Flammarion Iconographic Guides" by Louis Frederic. He described Buddhism images, icons and stories relate to these symbols of all Mahayana traditions. It is a well researched on Esoteric Buddhism particularly Japanese and Tibetan.

Talking about it, I remember some one wrote in the newsgroups that Japanese and Tibetan Buddhists Esotericism had fought in ancient time. But I doubt they fought in the name of Buddhism and its interpretations. In fact seemed impossible as they were too far apart. Especially Tibetans were a closed community in mountainous regions of Himalaya while Japanese were seawards.

Five Jinas also known as Five Tathagatas and Five Great Buddhas of Wisdom, the origin is uncertain. According Chinese pilgrim, Xuan Zang, he mentioned King Asoka had erected 5 stupas in honour of The Buddha composed of 5 parts near his capital, Pataliputra.

Some authors interpreted the 5 Jinas are of individualization on the principal mudras used by The Buddha. It symbolized the most significant moment of the career of Gautama Buddha. Other believed it represents the 5 Manusya (human) Buddhas, 5 Great Hypostases of 5 great historical moments in the Life of The Buddha according to different authors. .

However, Mahayanists commonly accept the 5 Directions as 5 Jinas. It could also be identified as Hindu conception, of the world there are 5 objects or ideas. The typical elements of Indian philosophy would be 5 Skandhas ( Aggregates) or 5 Senses which made up of the pyscho-phsical organism, which is of human forms (from Abidharma Sutta) Some theory claimed 5 Jinas symbolized 5 Cardinal Points and the 5 Virtues of The Buddha, and other symbolized the essential symbols of Law of Existence. As in human forms, we have Sensation, Apperception, Volition and Consciousness.

The book mentioned that the Esoteric Buddhists believe each Jina is represented as reflection or the magical projection, which corresponded the following:

Zenith - Mahvairocanna, Krakucchanda, Samantabhadra.

East - Aksobhya, Kanakamuni, Vajrapani.

West - Amitabha, Gautama, Avalokitesvara, Padmapani.

South - Ratnasambhava, Kayapa, Ratnapani.

North - Amoghasiddhi, Maitreya, Visvapani.

And the 5 Steps to Salvation are:

Mahavairocanna - Immaculate spirit, means of salvation.

Aksobhya - Accumulated spirit, awakening the heart.

Amitabha - Pure spirit, spiritual awakening.

Ratnasambhava - Passionate spirit, ascetic life.

Amoghasiddhi - The 5 material senses, Entry to Nirvana.

As Theravadins held Goutama Buddha for veneration, Mahayanists use these Buddhas of wisdom as the principal object of their worship. Jodo-Shinshu ( Pure Land) venerates on Amitabha ( Amida) Tendai and Shingon chose Vairocana.

The book said 2 great Mandalas of Garbhadhatu and Vajradhatu shows great harmony existing in the universe between the forces governs it and reconcile divine unity with diversity aspects.The orders and names of the 5 Jinas from these 2 great Mandalas believe to import from China to other part of East Asia and vary according to sects and countries.

In Japan, Bhaisajyaguru is found in the place of Aksobhya. (both in the East) Prabhutaratna replaces Ratnasambhava and Buddha replaces Amoghasiddhi. Ksitigarbha is also considered as Wisdom Buddha.

Those worship Amitabha Buddha considered all Buddhas of Wisdom are simply emanation of Amitabha. Vairocana is the principle deity, identical in both Varjadhatu and Garbhdhatu Mandalas. He is virtually not represented in sculpture in Nepal and Tibet, but only in paintings. Where in China and Japan, His effigies and sculptures are numerous.

More about Vairocana from this book, "Buddhism Flammarion Iconographic Guides" by Louis Frederic:

He is identified as

1. Vajrasattva, Wozi Luosa (Chinese), Rdo-rje-Sems-dpa ( Tibetan)

2. Bhaisajyagaru

3. Ekakasara Usinsacakra

4. Sudisti or Dhruva

With Metta,
Sidney See
Dec 2001

Buddhist Precepts

To be a Buddhist, one take refuge in the Triple Gems. The Buddha, The Dhamma, The Sangha for one's direction. Devotion is not the main path in Buddhist belief, but practice of good morality. All Buddhists are encouraged to observe Buddhist Precepts, that can be in five, eight or ten. The practice of precepts help to cultivate compassion, generosity, contentment, truthfulness and mindfulness. Every Buddhists should try to observe at least FIVE PRECEPTS in order to elevate himself morally and spiritually.

Buddhist Five Main Precepts (PANCA SILA)
Panati-pata veramani sikkha padam samadiyami
Adinna-dana veramani sikkhi padam samadiyami
Musavada veramani sikkha padam samadiyami
Kamesu miccha~cara veramani sikkha padam samadiyami
Sura meraya-maija-pama~datthana veramani sikkha padam samadiyami

1. Refrain From Killing2. Refrain From Stealing3. Refrain From Lying, Slandering, Gossiping and Spreading Rumours4. Refrain From Sexual Misconduct5. Refrain From Taking Intoxicants

1. Refrain From Killing
2. Refrain from Stealing
3. Refrain from Lying, Slandering, Gossiping and Spreading Rumours
4. Refrain from Sexual Misconduct
5. Refrain from Taking Intoxicants

Buddhist Eight Precepts

In many Buddhist countries, devout Buddhists observe the EIGHT PRECEPTS on Full Moon and New Moon days. They spend 24 hours in the temple from early the morning to break away from this material and sensual world. The idea is to withdraw from our daily life of hustle and bustle to cultivate spiritual development, self training and peace of mind.

1. Abstain from Taking Life.
2. Abstain from Stealing.
3. Abstain from Speaking unnecessary.
4. Abstain from Sexual Activity.
5. Abstain from Taking Intoxicants.
6. Abstain from Taking meals at inappropriate time.
7. Abstain from Entertaining, Dancing, Singing, Use of beauty products & perfumes.
8. Abstain from Seating on high and luxurious chairs and beds.

The 10 Rules and 75 Precepts of Samanera (Novice Monk)


These Ten Precepts are to be observed at all time:

1. Refrain from taking lives.

2. Refrain from taking what is not given.

3. Refrain from un-chastity.

4. Refrain from speaking false speeches.

5. Refrain from taking intoxicants

6. Refrain from taking food at inappropriate time.

7. Refrain from dancing, singing playing music and watching entertainment programs.

8. Refrain from using perfume, cosmetics, wearing of garland.

9. Refrain from using high chairs and sleeping on luxurious bed.

10. Refrain from accepting gold and silver (money)

On top of the 10 strict precepts, samaneras also have to observe 75 rules, which are also observed by bhikkhus (full-fledge monk)

The true spirit of Buddhism can be practiced anywhere, through daily engaged meditation. 
 Whether you're at home, in the car, or in the office cleaning your soul, through deep breathing and personal awareness, can be incredibly rewarding.  Try it!





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