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Buddhist Flag (Thailand)

Dharma Wheel Flag, Thong Dhammacak

Last modified: 2005-12-03 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: buddhism | religion | dharma wheel flag | thong dhammacak | chakra | wheel (red) |
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[Buddhist Flag (Thailand)] 2:3
by Santiago Dotor, based on a photograph by Ya'ara Gutterman

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In Thailand there were often two flags used in parades and other celebrations. The Thai National Flag was used everywhere (...). The other flag was saffron coloured with a red wheel similar to the wheel on the Indian flag except much larger. It was explained to me that it symbolized Buddhism, the national religion; or the Chakri (Royal) family; or loyalty to the King. Given the colour of the field I would bet on the Buddhism theme.

Phil Abbey, 17 September 1998

That is the Thong Dhammacak (Dharma Wheel Flag) — yellow flag with a red Dhammacak at the center. This the flag for Thai Buddhism.

Wisarut Bholsithi, 29 October 1999

The Thai Buddhist flag is a red wheel in the center on yellow background which is hoisted in most Thai temples. The shade of yellow is the same as of Thai Monks clothes or that used in the Sri Lankan flag.

Nozomi Kariyasu, 10 August 2001

I recently brought back this flag from Thailand. It is a religious (Buddhist) flag.

Ya'ara Gutterman, 21 September 2001

The Thai Buddhist flag — yellow background with a red wheel in the center represents the Dhamma Chakka or Wheel of Dhamma, which was set in motion by the Buddha during the First Sermon (see the Dhammachakka Sutta). All Buddhist countries in the world use the six-coloured flag, with few variations, created in the late 1800s and approved during the Sixth Great Council in Burma. Thailand, however, declined to use this flag and opted for the Dhamma Wheel.

Bhante Kantasilo, 12 June 2003

Doi Tung (Flag Mountain)

The Doi Tung (1,322 m) is a mountain located on the border between Thailand and Myanmar, in the province of Chang Rai. In Thai, Doi Tung means "Flag peak" or "Flag mountain", depending on the sources. King Achutarat of Chian Saen ordered to hoist a huge flag on the top of the mountain, to recall two Buddhist monuments built there in 911. The mountain was therefore called the "Flag mountain".

The mountain is now the place of a Buddhist pilgrimage. The Doi Tung Royal Estate was built at the bottom of the mountain in Swiss style for the late Royal Princess, the mother of King Rama IX. The Princess died in 1995 and the house was transformed into a foundation promoting alternatives to poppy cultivation. Doi Tung is not far from the too famous Golden Triangle. The area is inhabited by moutainous minorities who left Mynamar, e.g. Lahu, Akha and Shan.

Source: Amethyste website

Doi Tung is now a popular tourist destination and the mountain is shown on several commercial websites. There does not seem to be any flag permanently hoisted over the mountain - maybe only on pilgrimage day(s).

Ivan Sache, 30 Sep 2003