Buddhist Prayer Flag
May 07, 2021
A Tibetan prayer flag is a colorful rectangular cloth, often found strung along trails and peaks high in the Himalayas. They are used to bless the surrounding countryside and for other purposes. Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the buddhist believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.
According to Buddhist legend, the first prayer flags were used by Gautama Buddha, on whose teachings Buddhism is founded. Devas, which in Buddhism are a type of god-like, non-human entity, would carry flags with Gautama Buddha's prayers written on them into battle with asuras, which are a type of demi-god.
The tibetan prayer flags are two types
1. Vertical Prayer Flag : Darchog
2. Horizontal Prayer Flag : Lungta
1. Vertical Prayer Flag: The Vertical Prayer Flag is called Darchog (Wylie: dar-lcog, meaning "flagstaff" . These splendid five coloured flags have ties so that they can be mounted vertically on a pole (see the central five coloured flag shown in the image). Each flag is printed in the traditional manner; with accurate mantras and images of deities and auspicious symbols. Prayers for overcoming obstacles and increasing health and wealth are all included.
The five different deities included on each flag are as follows:
Medicine Buddha, Vajrasattva in Union, Guru Padmasambhava, Green Tara & Windhorse.
2. Horizontal Prayer Flag: The horizontal prayer flag is called Lung ta (Wylie: rlung-rta, meaning "Wind Horse") in Tibetan. For maximum benefit, prayer flags should be hung facing in the West; next best is North and then South. If possible, flags should not be hung facing the East. Prayer flags are traditionally printed on material dyed in the five colours that represent the Five Buddha families or the five elements ( blue: space; white: water; red: fire; green: air or wind; yellow: earth). They should be arranged in this order along the string. All the prayer flags are hand dyed and printed using traditionally carved woodblocks. The flag should be checked thoroughly to make sure that the mantras are printed correctly and that the Tibetan script is accurate beore purchasing. Once flags have faded or become weathered with age, they can be taken down and burnt. Hanging new flags is a good practice to do at least once a year.