Prayer Flags

Buddhist Prayer Flags Online

A prayer flag is a flag that has prayers inscribed upon it. They are colorful rectangles of cloth that are usually strung up high in mountain ranges and along mountain peaks located in the Himalayas. Their purposes include blessing the surrounding countryside, spreading goodwill through the wind to various countries located around the mountains, and promoting the ideas of peace, strength, wisdom, and compassion. Altough it is a common misconception about prayer flags, these colorful cloths are not used to carry messages to the gods above.

Important Facts About Prayer Flags

Prayer flags are extremely important in certain religions and cultures. Understanding their purposes and characteristics is important when cooperation with other countries.

An important fact to know about prayer flags is the fact that each of the colors on the flags symbolizes a different element. These elements include air, fire, water, and earth. To be more specific, red is representative of fire; white symbolizes air; blue carries the meaning of wind; green represents water; and that leaves yellow to symbolize the element of earth.

Along with representing elements, the colors also symbolize directions: North, South, East, West, and Center. Another important fact about prayer flags is that they are associated with chanting the meditation "Om Mani Padme Hum", which has a very important and deep meaning. Each word of the title represents something different: Om=the sacred symbol, Mani=jewel, Padme=lotus, and Hum=spirit of enlightenment. While the chant as a whole does not mean one thing in particular, it combines important values such as ethics, compassion, diligence, patience, wisdom, and renunciation. It is known that chanting the mantra during meditation can cure things such as pride, jealousy, greed, aggression, and ignorance.

Another important fact is that the flags are never meant to be still. They should always be flowing in the wind for spiritual purposes. Receiving one of these flags as a gift is an honor. Some say that you are not supposed to buy a flag solely for your own use; it should always be a gift.

There are two types of flags: horizontal and vertical. It is disrespectful to have the flags touch the ground. If the colors are fading from the flag, this means that the prayers have successfully been carried to where they were meant to go. The best time to put up your flag is during the Chinese New Year to create a positive impact on your life for the upcoming year.

How Should the Flags Be Hung?

Before the flags are hung, they should be blessed by the lama and you should write the names of those you are praying for on the flags. The hanging of a prayer flag can be associated with rituals that bring prosperity. They should always be hung carefully, respectfully never touching the ground and burning them after they have fulfilled their purposes.

There are specific days that are better for the hanging of the flags. On these days, the amount of people hanging the flags multiplies considerably. These days include the first two weeks after the Tibetan New Year (good for miracles to occur), the seventh and the fifteenth of the "fourth lunar month" known as Saga Dawn, and the fourth day of the sixth month and the fifteenth day of the ninth month (in association with Buddha teachings).

While the choice of day that people hang their Buddhist prayer flags is an important part of the decision-making process, it is even more important to remember the reasons as to why the flag is being hung in the first place. The most important thing to have in mind when hanging your prayer flag is to express well wishes for the purposes of the flag and to hang it with the best of intentions.

Inauspicious days not to hang Prayer flags in 2019:
February (2019): 12, 23, 26 / March: 13, 24, 27 / April: 9, 20 / May: 2, 8, 19 / June: 1, 4, 6, 17 / July: 11, 24 / August: 7, 19 / September: 3, 15, 29 / October: 11, 23 / November: 6, 19 / December: 3, 15, 30