“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Whenever I see prayer flags they seem to instantly inspire me to act more peacefully. They remind me of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the colourful Tibetan monks. There is something magical and quite calming about their very presence.
Prayer flags are an important part of the Tibetan culture. Each coloured flag is infused with special mantra’s, sacred symbols and words that are believed to use the energy of the wind to send blessings in the breeze. Lung-ta is the Tibetan name given to a set of prayer flags that fly in a horizontal line.
The wind horse is probably the most common ancient symbol you’ll find on prayer flags. It is said to represent good fortune. The higher you hang your wind horse prayer flags the more good fortune is believed to come your way.
Now, in the western world it is not uncommon to find Tibetan prayer flags hanging across entrances, in front yards, back yards and even inside homes. I love them and happen to think Tibetan Prayer Flags are a perfect way to bless your home.
The meaning of the colours:
The most common of prayer flags today are made of five colours blue, white, red, green and yellow. Each representing the five elements - blue for sky, white for clouds, red for fire, green for water (or wood) and yellow earth. Monks believe that the blue flag, which always starts the set of five colours, should be hung at he highest point as it symbolizes the sky.
In case you didn’t know green is considered an auspicious colour for the Dalai Lama which has been determined by his Tibetan astrology. In the book Tibetan Prayer Flags it explains that green flags would be raised on a Wednesday to coincide with his lucky astrological day.
Cleanse your prayer flags:
Zamling ji sangis the name of a Tibetan smoke ritual which uses the smoke of burnt offerings to clear obstacles and heal the environment. A Tibetan monk would chant a mantra and ring his bell as the auspicious smoke floats into the air.
In Tibet juniper bushes are considered a sacred plant. The smoke from this plant releases special energies that purify and cleanse newly hung prayer flags and the surrounding area.
Whilst I don’t have a juniper bush handy, I do use a sage smudge stick or herbs on a disc of charcoal to create my own little sacred smoke ritual when hanging new prayer flags. I also add a few rounds of “om” to make it extra special.
Best location for your prayer flags:
In Tibet they can be seen on mountain tops, on the eaves of homes, around temples, at high passes, scared locations, even across rivers and bridges. They are hung for all in all sorts of locations for all sorts of reasons; the arrival of lama, to bless a home, sacred site, protection against earthquakes and send blessings in the breeze.
Many of my friends use them near their front entrance but really the choice is yours. You might choose to erect them in an area of your garden that seems flat or lacking in some way to bring blessings and new energy to that location. I’ve even heard of a woman using the energy of the wind and prayer flags to scatter her husbands ashes.
Best time to hang your prayer flags:
The early hours of the morning, when the energy of the day is still calm and pure, is considered very auspicious to hang your prayer flags.
According to the Tibetan calendar there are certain days which are considered inauspicious (Bhaden days) for hanging your prayer flags. Over the next few months they are December 20th 2009, January 1st and 28th 2010 and February 8th 2010.
A wonderful gift idea - Send your blessings on the breeze:
It is written by Diane Barker who has traveled many times to Tibet and was lucky enough to have Dru-gu Choegyal Rinpoche as a consultant on this book. Its a small beautiful book that’s easy to read, very informative with many amazing pictures, and a set of prayer flags. A wonderful gift idea.
I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to read my article, Carole.