Tibetan Prayer Flags are colorful flags with Tibetan deities and windhorse prayer mantras.
Tibetan Prayer flag comes in sets of five colors arranged from left to right representing five elements and five pure lights. The five colors are in a specific order- Blue, White, Red, Green and Yellow. Blue color symbolizes Sky, the White color symbolizes Air and Wind, Red color symbolizes Fire, Green color symbolizes Water and Yellow color symbolizes Earth. These five elements together help balance health and harmony.
The mantras, symbols and prayers in a traditional prayer flag surrounds the traditional belief of a horse which is fast as wind, carrying the three flaming jewels symbolizing Buddha, The Dharma and the Sangha which are three cornerstones of Tibetan tradition. Almost 400 mantras surround the Lung Ta, each dedicated to a particular deity. Mantras included are from three greatest Buddhist Bodhisattvas: Padmasambhava, Avalokitesvara and Manjushree. It’s common to add prayers of long life and good fortune for the one who hangs the prayer flags too.
The common misconception about Tibetan flags is that the prayers are carried to the gods. It is not true. It is believed that the prayers/mantras are carried by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all the pervading space benefiting everyone.
We would treat the prayer flag respectfully and it should be hanged on a particular time as well. The best time to put up a prayer flag is in the morning on windy days. It is believed that prayer flags become the permanent part of the universe as the images fade from exposure, just as life moves on and new life replaces old one, Tibetans renew their hopes for the world continually mounting new flags alongside old ones. The old prayers flag should be burned once it is taken off.