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Tibetan Buddhist flags - Part 2 (Tibet)

Last modified: 2020-07-11 by ian macdonald
Keywords: tibet | buddhist flag |
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Dechen Choekhor

[Dechen Choekhor of Tibetan Buddhism]
image by Corentin Chamboredon, 10 April 2014

Here is a flag of the Drukpa-Kagyü school of Tibetan buddhism. It is described as the official lineage flag of Dechen Choekhor Mahavira. It uses the same color as the other drukpa flags (blue and red) but this one is divided diagonally, the red being at the lower hoist. In the middle of the flag, there is a yellow circle which contains itself an empty green circle. Inside these circles, there is a blue vajra wraped with red silk. The vajra stands on a white oval with blue border, which is itself just above a red lotus.
Corentin Chamboredon, 10 April 2014

Drukpa Council flag

[Drukpa Council flag]
image by Zoltan Horvath, 18 February 2014

A flag with a different logo has been displayed at Hemis monastery, Ladakh, India. Is it described as the Drukpa Council flag. The logo is an orange / red dragon encircling the world. It holds a pearl in each of its claws. Behind the dragon, there are stylized clouds.
Corentin Chamboredon, 17 February 2014

Dzogchen tradition

[Dzogchen tradition flag]
image by Corentin Chamboredon, 08 April 2014

Here is the flag of the so-called Dzogchen lineage. This tradition is one of the main teachings of the Nyingmapa school, but it is also taught to and used by members of other schools of Tibetan buddhism. The name comes from a monastery of eastern Tibet. The flag was apparently created by Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche. Despite his name, he is not the leader of Dzogchen monastery, and apparently not one of its three main incarnations.
Anyway, the flag has a blue field, and five borders of different colors at its fly and lower sides (inward they are white, yellow, red, green, and a thiner white border). At the hoist, there are four vertical stripes which cover the borders. The first one is made of several diagonal stripes (using the same colors as the borders), the second is red, the third is blue, the fourth is white. Near the hoist and at one third of the height, there are five concentric circles (again, white, yellow, red, green, a thiner white circle) and in the middle three white spirals (or gankhyil) on a blue field.
Corentin Chamboredon, 14 April 2014

Shambhala tradition

Here are four flags from a Tibetan buddhist tradition, the Shambhala. I had never heard of it before, nor read anything about it. So, it was apparently founded in the 70s by Chögyam Trungpa, a lama from the Kagyüpa school, with strong connection with the Nyingmapa school, and is now led by his son Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
This tradition uses at least four flags.

[Shambhala tradition flag]
image by Corentin Chamboredon, 08 April 2014

The flag of the tradition itself has a white field, with a slightly eccentric yellow sun, and four colored stripes near the hoist (orange, white, red, blue). These colors represent the four dignities: Meek, Perky, Outrageous, Inscrutable.

[Dorje Kasung flag]
image by Corentin Chamboredon, 08 April 2014

The flag of the Dorje Kasung (some sort of security service, complete with uniforms) has a white field with a yellow sun in the middle. Inside the sun, there is a black trident.

[Flag of leader of the tradition, Sakyong Mipham]
image by Corentin Chamboredon, 08 April 2014

The leader of the tradition, Sakyong Mipham, apparently has his own flag. It has four colored quarters, each containing the silhouette of a mythical animal (the tradition call them the four dignities) : the upper hoist is red and has a garuda ; the upper fly is blue and has a dragon ; the lower fly is orange and has a tiger ; the lower hoist is white and has a snow lion. There is a yellow disc in the middle with a red scorpio and a black strip along the hoist, with six white circles.

[Flag of Chögyam Trungpa's widow]
image by Corentin Chamboredon, 08 April 2014

Chögyam Trungpa's widow, Diana Mukpo, also seems to have a flag. It is the same flag as Sakyong Mipham, without the yellow disc with a scorpio. At least, it is sold as such on the Shambhala online shop.

I'm note sure of it, but I saw at least one more flag on a photograph. It had a blue field with an emblem in the middle and I think it could be the flag of the Nyingmapa school since I also saw photos showing the Shambhala flag used next to the Karma-Kagyüpa Dream flag.
Corentin Chamboredon, 08 April 2014

Dorje Shugden tradition

[Flag of Dorje Shugden tradition]
image by Corentin Chamboredon, 21 April 2014

Here is a flag used by the believers of Dorje Shugden. Tibetan buddhism has lots of deities, buddhas and bodhisattvas to pray to. Among them, Dorje Shugden has been very controversial recently. Basically, Tibetan buddhism think it is perfectly acceptable to appeal to a superior being in order to progress on the path to enlightment. Buddhas are, obviously, very highly considered. Bodhisattvas, or being who renounced to attain enlightment in order to help the others, are also very respected. Then come several categories of beings, who nevertheless share a common characteristic: serving buddhism, either from their free will, or after being submitted by some other deity.
Dorje Shugden is such a mundane deity, but contrary to most of the other deities, the XIIIth and XIVth Dalai lamas saw it as a dangerous spirit, notably because of its very hostile stance against other schools and even members of the dominant Gelugpa school. The XIVth Dalai lama subsequently strongly disapproved and advised not to worship this deity in the Gelugpa monasteries (his own school), which led Shugden believers to openly criticize these statements.
The flag has a dark yellow border and five vertical stripes : blue, yellow, red, white, green. In the middle of the flag, there is a yellow eight-spoked wheel, with orange inner rim, center and spokes. There is a yellow vajra in the center of the wheel.
Corentin Chamboredon, 21 April 2014

Larung Gar Buddhist Academy

Here are a few links to photographs showing flags used by the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy (Serthar county, Sichuan, China). Larung Gar (བླ་རུང་སྒར་, Wylie: bla rung sgar) is a religious scholar center founded in 1980 by Khenpo Jigme Phüntsog in order to counter the destructions and losses of the Cultural Revolution in China and Tibet. This institution has no legal existence, but still managed to become a town of over ten thousand people.
The Buddist Academy apparently uses at least two flags besides the usual buddhist flag in front of the main temple. The first one is a horizontal bicolor : the upper half is blue (maybe with traces of a darker blue shade in the corners of the flag), the lower half is green. In the middle there is a colorful buddhist logo similar to those which appear on various Tibetan flags. On one photograph, I think I can see flaming swords. The central emblem lays in some red water (blood ?) and there are some smaller things next to it, at least near the hoist.
The other flag has an orange field, also with a buddhist logo, but I can't see anything clear about it.
Sources :
Corentin Chamboredon, 18 July 2015