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Dream Flag

"Wherever this banner is flown, the Dharma will flourish."

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The Sixteenth Karmapa

Dharma Haven

Karmapa's Dream Flag

Since the Twelfth Century, people in the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism have revered the Karmapas as spiritual leaders, just as people in the Gelugpa tradition are devoted to the Dalai Lamas. The Sixteenth incarnation, H.H. Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, helped to save thousands of people and many sacred texts and art treasures from the Communist invasion of Tibet. He died near Chicago in 1981.
The 16th Karmapa saw this flag in a dream. He called it Namkhyen Gyaldar -- "Victorious Flag of the Buddha's Wisdom" -- and announced "Wherever this banner is flown, the Dharma will flourish." 

Historically, the Karmapas' predictions have been correct.

The Meanings of the Dream Flag

The Ocean of Wisdom
Tibetan: gyalwa or Mongolian: dalai
as in Gyalwa Karmapa or Dalai Lama

At the level of relative truth, the blue is the sky (heaven), symbolizing spiritual insight and vision, and the yellow is the earth, the actual world of our everyday experience. The symmetry of the wave pattern shows how we come to understand their interdependence when we practice the dharma.

As a reminder of absolute truth, the blue symbolizes the wisdom, or emptiness aspect of awakened being, while the yellow stands for the compassion aspect. The wavy intermingling of the two colors represents their inseparability.

The interdependence shown in the flag can also be seen as the wisdom of Mahamudra, the ultimate realization of ones true nature..

Aspiration for Mahamudra

All dharmas are projections of mind.
As for mind, there is no mind; mind's nature is empty.
Empty and unceasing, mind appears as anything.
Investigating it well, may I settle the basic points. 

Projections which never existed in themselves, have been confused as objects.
Awareness itself, due to ignorance, has been confused as a self.
Through the power of dualistic fixation I wander in the realm of
May ignorance and confusion be completely resolved. 

It doesn't exist: even buddhas do not see it.
It doesn't not exist: it is the basis of samsara and nirvana.
No contradiction: two-in-one, the middle way.
May I realize the Nature of Mind. 

More About the 16th Karmapa

More about the Dream Flag

The Making of the First Dream Flag
Part (1) -- Part (2)

Dream Flag

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How to Buy a Dream Flag

Namchen Banner -- "Dream Flag" 
now available from

The Shambhala Shop

Large nylon (40" x 72"), sewn, with grommets  $140
Small silkscreened, nylon, (10" x 18")   $20


Dream Flag Car Window Decal (3" x 5") $4.50 

Small Nylon Dream Flag $28.00

Deborah Luscomb Brocades

40" x 70" Nylon, sewn -- $140

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Dream Flag

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Current Version: June 16, 2005
Originally Published: April 21, 2003

Copyright © 2003, 2005 Dharma Haven
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