( The Buddhists' Sacred Flag )

Oo Maung

History Size Colour *
Occasions Means Notes References

The History of the Sasana Flag

        The Buddhists' Sacred Flag was first proposed in Sri Lanka in 1885 by a U.S Colonel, called Mr.Henry S. Alcott to celebrate the Buddha Day. He suggested the use of the well-defined colours of the Rays associated with the Enlightenment of the Buddha.

        The same Six-coloured Flag was first introduced as an Official Sasana Flag in Burma (now Myanmar) when the Sixth Buddhist Council was held in Rangoon, in 1956.

        The following Rules and Regulations were first adopted in 1980 and were described in details in the Chapter 10 of the Fundamental Rules of the Sangha Organization.


        There are four prescribed sizes of the Sasana Flag

  1. 9 feet in length and 5 feet in width.
  2. 4 feet 6 inches in length and 2 feet 6 inches in width.
  3. 2 feet 3 inches in length and 1 foot 3 inches in width.
  4. 9 inches in length and 5 inches in width.


        From left to right, the colours must be arranged as follows:

SPECIAL OCCASIONS when the Flag can be used

        (A)On Auspicious Days, i.e.,

  1. the Fullmoon Day of Kason Month.
  2. the Fullmoon Day of Nayon Month (Maha Samaya Day).
  3. the Fullmoon Day cf Waso (Dhamma Cakka Day).
  4. the Fullmoon Day of Thidingyut: (Abhidhamma Day and Maha Pavarana Day).
  5. the Fullmoon Day of Tazaungmon (Samannaphala Day).

        (B) At religious ceremonies, i.e.,

  1. Waso Festival,
  2. Kathina Ceremony,
  3. Abhidhamma Day Ceremony,
  4. Shinbyu (Initiation) Ceremony,
  5. Ordination Ceremony of bhikkhus,
  6. Grand ceremony of offerings to the bhikkhus,
  7. Ceremony of Maha (State) Convocation,
  8. Ceremony of Cula (RegionaI) Convocation,
  9. State Titles Presentation Ceremony,
  10. Ceremony of Tipitakadhara Convocation,
  11. Ceremony of Religious Examinations,
  12. Special Dhamma Seminars,
  13. Ceremony of Reciting Scriptures,
  14. Ceremony of Installation of the Sacred Umbrella,
  15. Ceremony of the Buddha Pujaniya Veneration,
  16. Meetings of the Sangha(Bhikkhus)
  17. At the Court of the Sangha Vinicchaya,
  18. Religious Affairs Training Centres,
  19. Ceremony of Recitation of Patthana Texts,, and
  20. Ceremony of Recitation of Nikaya Scriptures.


        1. When hoisting the Sasana Flag, the deep blue part of the flag must be at the left side of the hoister.

        2. The deep blue strip of the flag must be permanently at the very top of the five-mixed coloured portion of the flag.

        3. In hoisting the flag, it must be elevated quickly to the top of the mast, and should be lowered slowly.

        4. The Flag must be hoisted from dawn to sunset although it can be hoisted the whole night at special important and grand occasions.

        5. When hoisting the Sasana flag on the stage, it must be put in horizontal position on an elevated part of the background of the stage. And, the flag must be in the right position.

        6. When hoisting the Sasana flag together with other flags, it must be at the centre and in a higher position.

        7. When hoisting the Sasana flag at the auditorium, it must be on the right side and in front of the preacher.

        8. When hoisting the Sasana flag together with other flags at the auditorium, the Sisana flag must be placed at the left side of the preacher.

        9. When hoisting the Sasana flag on big vehicles, the flag must be firmly hoisted on the front part of the roof; and if the vohicle is a small one, the flag must be hoisted at the front right of the vehicle.

        10. The Sasana Flag must be hoisted on the vehicles only when in processon carrying the Bodhi tree, the Sacred Umbrellas of the pagoda, the Venerable Sayadaws, the succcssful candidates of Sangha and the Dhamma preachers. But, the Sasana flag must be respectfully folded on the vehicles when the procession of the above personages and sacred things, concludes.

        11. When hanging the Sasana Flag, it must be in horizontal position. It must never be in an upside down position. When hanging small pieces of Sasana paper-flags, they must always be in vertical positions.

        12. The Sangha Organizations and the reiligious asscciatiuns must obey the above instructions concerning the Sasana Flag and use it systematically in the religious meetings and ceremonies.


        (a) The sasana flat is not allowed to be hoisted on the pilgrimage vehicle even if there are monks in it.

        (b) Without sound religious reasons, the Sasana Flag cannot be hoisted at the road sides, junctions, vehicle gates, airports, jetties, markets, stations and other places.

        (c) No one must show disrespect to the Sasana Flag. No improper behaviour must be tolerated regarding the flag. The flag must not be inclined to wards persons or things.

        (d) The Sasana Flag is not allowed to be torn, stained or destroyed in any way.

        (e) No department is allowed to use the Sasana Flag as the over-hanging covering of a pavillion.

        (f) The Sasana Flag is not allowed to be used as wrappers, trade marks, advertisements or designs on billboards.

        (g) Wallposters and pamphlets are not allowed to be stuck or hung on the post on which the Sasana Flag is being hoisted.

        (h) When handling the Sasana Flag, it is not allowed to be wrapped or fastened.

        (i) When using the Sasana Flag, it must not touch the ground, the surface of water, thc floor or things which are under the flag.

        (j) At all times, the Sasana Flag must never be used as ground - covers, mats or carpets.

        (k) Above the Sasana Flag, no other flags must be hoisted.

        (l) TheSasana Flag must be hoisted at the consecration ceremonies of images, holy monuments and statues as a sacred symbol. But the images, the monumems and the statues must not, be covered with the flag.

        (m) The Sasana Flag must never be thrown away for whatever reason. If the flag becomes torn, soiled and useless, it must be burned respect fully.


  1. "The Sassana Flag (The sacred flag of Buddhists)", by Ba Sein, in "The Light of the Dhamma", Vol. III, No. 1,Rangoon, 1983.
  2. "The Sasana Flag", by U Thein Aung (Veranasi), in ' Tipitakadhara Golden Jubilee Megazine, Ministry of Religious Affairs,Yangon, 1998.(In Burmese)

Ak'¨omoemhtvHudkwDxGifol Inventor of Sasana Flag (in Myanmar)


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