"Prayer flags are colourful panels or rectangular cloths often found strung along mountain ridges and peaks in the Himalayas to bless the surrounding countryside. Unknown in other branches of Buddhism, prayer flags are believed to have originated with Bon, which predated Buddhism in Tibet. Traditionally they are woodblock-printed with texts and images." -Wikipedia
Painting Prayer Flags at The Holistic Fayre
Prayer flags are colourful rectangular pieces of clothes inscribed with prayers, mantras and auspicious symbols. Buddhists believe that the prayer flags generate spiritual vibrations that are released when blown by the wind and the prayers are carried in the air like silent prayers. Any person and place touched by the wind will be happier and uplifted.
Prayer flags are always seen hanging in high passes and spiritual places like stupas and temples. They are also hanged in any place that people wish to be blessed or protected.
Prayer flags are said to bring happiness, wish fulfilment, long life and prosperity to the flag planter and those in the vicinity.
Contrary to popular belief, prayer flags do not carry prayers to gods, but rather are used to promote peace, strength, compassion, and wisdom. The wind is said to carry these messages from the flags to all people.
There was something completely peaceful, completely centring, and completely healing about listening to the sound of prayer flags flapping in the wind.
It is believed that when the wind moves prayer flags, even with the slightest breeze, these prayers and blessings become activated, and then are carried through the air in a spiritual vibration across the vicinity. Not only does the flag planter, but everything that is touched by the wind, and all sentient beings, benefit from the prayers and blessings that are carried by the wind.
Prayer flags are everywhere in Bhutan. In front of homes, hotels, shops, temples, monasteries, religious sites, places of spiritual importance. On rooftops and near roads. Down in the valleys, up on the hillsides. On bridges, over rivers, and at mountain passes. Attached to trees, and amongst red rice and other fields. Alongside, surrounding, or attached to chortens and prayer wheels. You see them when walking in the villages, when trekking, and when driving. They are placed where people gather for a special reason. Prayer flags are part of everyday life for the Bhutanese.
Prayer flags are holy, and should be treated with respect. When raising or hanging prayer flags, it is important to keep in mind this saying: “May all sentient beings everywhere receive benefit and find happiness.”
Prayer Flags are thought to have been introduced over 2,000 years ago by the Bon people of Tibet. As predecessors to the Buddhist religion, their prayer flags did not specifically honour any deity, or group of deities as many think today, but were simply used to relate to the elemental entities, or forces of nature, to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom.
The belief was that the positive affirmations and thoughts of loving good will and compassion of the colourful strips, or rectangles of fabric, would be blown by the wind and spread all over the world.
Our own 'modern' prayer flags are often without specific religious or political affiliation. They are simply a loving and artistic way to connect our hearts with others and a way of showing loving compassion in the process by making, giving, and sharing the process of making these bright bits of cloth and thread.
Modern Peace and Prayer flags can be also be created by imprinting them with poems, prayers and symbols from the variety great faiths of the world in hopes of uniting them in a spirit of peace and harmony.
And as the winds blow, and nature's changing seasons and natural elements of wind, sun, rain, or snow, will aid the natural process of disintegration of all things. This is why it is not necessary to create meticulous 'works of art' but more often simply, and fundamentally creative works of heart, instead.
Our goal is to fly as many of them as we can, outside The Holistic Fayre.
A prayer flag is intended as such, with thoughts and prayers being put into manifestation during both the creation, and the display