At the heart of symbolism

The flag of Mongolia

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Flag of Mongolia

The colours of the flag

Made in the image of the Tibetan flag, the flag of Mongolia evokes the Buddhist symbols.

The red and blue background colours represent two colours that trim the visible light spectrum. They symbolize the whole range of the colour manifestation in particular and of all things in general. A manifestation that finds its principle in the white light containing all colour nuances and, generally speaking, in the non-manifested.

The yellow of the pattern represents the spectrum's median colour. Situated between red and blue, it symbolizes balance, harmony and union between opponent tensions, enhanced by the symmetrical and axial character of the drawing.

The soyombo symbolism

The soyombo can be read top down or bottom up. These two movements alongside the axis depict a descent from the spiritual towards the corporal and an ascent from body to Spirit:

1. The first movement of metaphysical order consists in a descent from a celestial pole, a undifferentiated Principle symbolized by the central flame point of the superior pattern (), towards the terrestrial manifestation represented by the bottom pattern ();

2. The second movement of cosmologic order corresponds to a way back from the terrestrial manifestation towards the undifferentiated Principle.

These two movements, described by the two lateral columns of the drawing, convey the being origin and destiny. Product of the descending movement, the ordinary human being can only climb back up the slope towards his celestial source, the undifferentiated Principle or Supreme Unity, if he wants forever to get rid of this world's chains.

The world and being manifestation

The symbols located alongside the pattern axis may be related to the descending movement associated with the Principle manifestation and, in particular, with its most substantial aspect. The pattern is, in fact, composed of four elements common to most traditions and ordered alongside the axis according to their natural movement:

1. Fire or the lightest element rises vertically and radiates in all directions ();

2. Air or the most aerial element moves transversely ();

3. Water or the formless substantial element penetrates the ground surface ();

4. Earth or the most substantial element lies under the ground surface ().

Soyombo symbol All these elements find their source in a fifth element, the least substantial one and wrongly qualified of “quintessence” for it is not a matter of essence, but of substance. This fifth element known as Ether and symbolized by the flames () contains all the others in an undifferentiated state. Their manifestation depends on their movement and relative nature. A natural function of their yin or yang character portrayed by the same naming symbol deliberately located between Earth and Water. In fact, yin is passive, receptive and dark; yang is active, prodigal and luminous. It follows that Water is yang in comparison with Earth, which is yin; all the same, Fire is yang relatively to Air, which is yin.

A ladder of successive yin and yang characters generates tensions between the elements. These tensions are resorbed within the unity of the substantial element par excellence, Ether, and, generally speaking, within the Principle or the manifestation source of any thing and being.

The way back to the undifferentiated Principle

The symbols may be perceived differently during the ascent towards the non-manifested or the descent in direction of manifestation. The descent brings closer to Earth, the ascent to Heaven. Therefore, Fire and Air elements related to the descent are naturally associated with Sun and Moon from the ascent standpoint.

1. The Moon sphere () separates the bodily and psychic manifestation states from the spiritual states, the proper individual states from the supra-individual states;

2. The Sun () represents the undifferentiated Principle at the source of individual and supra-individual states, the Unity of all being states as well as the being having attained the unified state.

The flames crowning the soyombo () symbolize the Triple Jewel or the three sublime refuges, the communication channels between the Moon and Sun spheres:

  • The central flame of the pattern represents the direct path to the unified state, the Buddha's state, the eternal present that perceives the whole reality at one glance. As such, it includes the two lateral flames, which are essential to the understanding of the return towards the unified state;
  • One of the side flames depicts the Heaven's Law that governs the terrestrial world, the Dharma. Source of balance and harmony between things and beings composing this world, it shows to the being, that intends to go back towards its source, the law that reigns over it;
  • The other flame corresponds to the right knowledge guiding the community of disciples or Sangha towards the superior states. The being then leaves the periphery of the “cosmic wheel” to rejoin the centre where he stands motionless; he passes from the outer into the inner; he is no more part of the world, the world is from now on part of him.