The Tibetan Prayer Flags have a long history in the Tibetan culture. Since time immemorial, it has been associated with the peace of the spiritual mind and has been used by Tibetan monks and priests. If one has visited Nepal, one would know the extensive use of these colourful prayer flags at various Tibetan monasteries. One of the most common mantras that can be seen on these flags is ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’.
The tradition of hanging prayer flags in Tibet began more than 2000 years ago. The war lords carried their banners in the form of flags during wars. However, the native people chose to make their own spiritual version of prayer flags. They used five colours for five elements of the earth; blue for sky, white for air, red for fire, green for water and yellow for earth. They had the ancient mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ written on that and hung it all around for the security of the local people.
The six syllable mantra means ‘Hail the jewel in the lotus’. When the Chinese invaded Tibet and destroyed mankind, Tibetan people had to flee to distant places. But they continued to hang their prayer flags in various places and that is how the world caught on to the tradition.
Significance Of Tibetan Prayer Flags:
It is said that these prayer flags are hung so that the wind carries its peaceful message to all the places that it goes to. People worldwide believe in the soothing effects of hanging a colourful prayer flag in their midst.
- The flag may be hung indoors but its rightful place is where its messages can be freely distributed with the wind.
- The five colours signify various things apart from the five elements, like the five directions or the five meditation poses of Buddha.
- Hanging it at the threshold of a house brings in happiness and blesses everyone who passes through it.
- The most auspicious time to hang a prayer flag is during the Chinese New Year. This moment is one that should be celebrated, hence people call over their family and friends to hang it together.
- A prayer flag can be hung during times of happiness or grief.
- It should be hung at a higher altitude of the house.
- People also like to hang a prayer flag in their cars or on their bikes. A fluttering prayer flag brings peace and harmony to its surroundings.
- When the flags eventually fade, it is a sign that everything changes with time. The flags should then be burned to release the prayers and a new flag should be hung with new prayers.
Tibetian Buddhist Prayer Flags along with the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ is one of the best sources of happiness, wealth and health.