Prayer flags have been around for thousands of years. These colorful flags are often seen floating above river crossings or atop mountain passes protecting those travelling through. Everything right from the colour to the words on the flags has a deeper meaning.
These Buddhist prayer flags are traditionally hung in high places to catch the wind so the prayer will be carried out to bless and bring good fortune to all sentient beings.
The red, blue, yellow, white and green Buddhist prayer flags represent elements like air, fire, water and earth. White symbolizes air, red is fire. Green is water, yellow is earth, and blue is wind. They also represent directions – North, South, East, West and Center.
Om: The sacred syllable
Hum: Spirit of enlightenment
This mantra does not have one particular meaning. It’s a combination of values like compassion, ethics, patience, diligence, renunciation and wisdom. It is said that if you recite the mantra during meditation, it can cure pride, jealousy, ignorance, greed and aggression.
Buddhist people believe that ‘all’ the teachings of Buddha are there in the mantra. The mantra is well known to guide you to the path of enlightenment. The mantra is about the truth of suffering of life and helps in getting rid of the same.
The reason why they are put high above the roof is so that they flutter in the wind. It is said that they emit positive spiritual vibrations and that the prayers are carried by the wind like silent prayers.
Getting prayer flags as a gift from someone and not buying them is how you should acquire a prayer flag. Therefore, telling a friend who visits the Himalayas to get you prayer flags is the right thing to do.
The horizontal ones are called Lung Dar and the vertical ones are Dar Cho.
It is considered disrespectful if the Buddhist prayer flags touch the ground. Therefore, they should always be hung at a height. Around the frame of the doorway is considered the right place to put the flags.
This means that the prayers were carried by the breeze – fading colours are a sign of it.
There are auspicious and inauspicious days to hang prayer flags, based on the Tibetan calendar. And if you gather your family and well-wishers while doing so, the flags then are said to have a positive impact on your life. According to tradition, if you hang them on the wrong dates you will receive obstacles instead of success. You must consult the calendar before putting up prayer flags.