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Dalai Lama's Personal flag (Tibet)

Last modified: 2006-03-18 by phil nelson
Keywords: tibet | dalai lama |
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[Dalai Lama flag photograph]
contributed by Corentin Chamboredon, 17 May 2005

[Dalai Lama flag photograph]
contributed by Corentin Chamboredon, 17 February 2006

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The movie "Kundun" is about the life of the fourteenth Dalai Lama. In it we see the Flag of Tibet often, but there are a few times when another flag in also shown that may be the personal flag of the Dalai Lama but I'm not sure. I've seen nothing in any of my books about such a flag and I don't really know if such a flag exists. The flag is all white with a symbol of some kind in the middle of the flag, but It is never very clear so I can't really tell much more then that.
Dan Fairbanks, 30 January 1998

This photograph [on the left shows] two horsemen, probably Khampa resistance fighters. The one on the left is carrying the national flag, and the other one has what was said to be the personal banner of the Dalai Lama. It has a dark border, and on the field I can see several details which remind me those on the old flags of Sikkim.
Corentin Chamboredon, 17 May 2005

The closeup of the flag [on the right] was in The Dalai Lamas: A visual history by Martin Brauen. Page 184. It shows soldiers and monks making a line in the monastery of Phari where the 14th had fled. The photograph had been taken by Heinrich Harrer who tells us "The first flag is the banner of the dalai-lama, the second is the national flag."

I don't think the design shows a dragon. I would say it rather shows the boddisatva Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig in Tibetan), whose dalai-lamas are the reincarnations. Such a person would logically appear on a such flag, but there is another possibility. It could be Mahakala, the protector of Tibetan Buddhism, and more particularly of ... the dalai-lamas! It is a black-skinned and two, four or six-armed divinity, who destroy enemies of Buddhism and Tibet.
Corentin Chamboredon, 17 February 2006