Letters to the West

seven years in Tibet-in-Exile (and counting …)

The national flag

Tibetan national flag

The Tibetan National Flag was introduced in 1912 by the 13th Dalai Lama. He took elements from the military flags of the various Tibetan provinces and combined them into one design. It served as the flag of the government of Tibet at Lhasa until 1950, and remains the emblem of the government of Tibet in exile headquartered in Dharamsala, India. It is banned in present day, Chinese-occupied Tibet.

Symbolism of the Tibet national flag

  • In the centre stands a magnificent snow-clad mountain, which represents the great nation of Tibet, widely known as the Land Surrounded by Snow Mountains.
  • The six red bands spread across the dark blue sky represent the original ancestors of the Tibetan people: the six tribes called Se, Mu, Dong, Tong, Dru and Ra which in turn gave the twelve descendants. The combination of six red bands, for the tribes, and six dark blue bands, for the sky, represent the unceasing enactment of the virtuous deeds of protection of the spiritual teachings and secular life by the black and red guardian-protector deities with which Tibet has been blessed since times immemorial.
  • At the tip of the snowy mountain the sun, with its rays shining brilliantly in all directions, represents the equal enjoyment of freedom, spiritual and material happiness and prosperity by all beings in the land of Tibet.
  • On the slopes of the mountain proudly stand a pair of snow lions, blazing with the manes of fearlessness, which represent the country’s victorious accomplishment of a unified spiritual and secular life.
  • The beautiful and radiant three-coloured jewel held aloft represents the ever-present
    reverence respectfully held by the Tibetan people towards the three supreme gems, the
    objects of refuge: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
  • The two coloured swirling jewel held between the lions represents the peoples’ guarding and cherishing the self-discipline of correct ethical behaviour, principally represented by the practices of the ten exalted virtues and the sixteen humane codes of conduct.
  • Lastly, the adornment with a yellow border symbolises the teachings of the Buddha, which are like pure, refined gold and unbounded in space and time, that are flourishing and spreading.

Written by walker

12 September 2007 at 10:32 pm

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