Each flutter of the flag in the breeze denotes a prayer blown by the wind to spread good will into all pervading space. Every thread unravels, flies away and carries the prayers and mantras to promote peace, compassion, wisdom and strength.
The flags are always arranged in a specific order, from left to right: blue represents the sky, white represents the air, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. All five colors together signifying balance.
I have seen prayer flags flown from stupas and mountain passes in Tibet, Nepal, Northern India, Bhutan and at my home. It is always important to respect and acknowledge their religious meaning. Buddhism is a complicated religion, but learning about the actual teachings of the Buddha has benefits. People find the teachings relevant and helpful in their own lives, including meditation which has been proven to have benefits even according to Western science. Buddhist belief is strong in the power of prayer flags which include mantras from three of the great Buddhist Bodhisattvas: Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), Avalokiteśvara (Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion, and the patron of the Tibetan people), and Manjusri, to be carried on the wind.
Prayer flags are to be treated with respect and not ever touch the ground. Disposal can be by burning them, but they are not to touch the ground while they burn. The smoke carries sacred blessings. I always keep my flags flying, getting old, fading away and allowed to slowly disintegrate.
My main reason to hang prayer flags is to spread positivity far and wide.
I wandered to the window this morning to check for any birds at my feeder. Expecting the usual ones, I knew my coffee would soon be enjoyed by me along with breakfast. It was a late night last night, early morning, due to my volunteering on a crisis hot line. I was half asleep as I checked on the birds and expected nothing unusual.
What! Wake up, what do I see? Where’s my camera and tripod? Am I really seeing a ground squirrel pulling at my prayer flags flying below the bird feeder? Ok, this is not a usual sight. I need to take a photo as I believe I am seeing this happen and I will want to share this activity with others.
The prayer flags have been left to blow in the wind and I have seen birds take a piece, no doubt for nests. But this I have never seen. Soon the ground squirrel was into a full-on pull of the line with definite use of its thigh muscles!
After much time tugging, the ground squirrel relaxed on the wall and paid attention to something happening on the other side of the wall. I have no idea what caught his attention, but I did realize I woke up quickly this morning due to his activity!
Then back at the prayer flags after a few minutes of distraction. The ground squirrel pulled at a few more before finally taking off to other areas of the backyard.
I quickly went for my coffee maker to make coffee and have breakfast. Wow, what a way to wake up in the morning! Quite the jolt to my system and so different from caffeinated coffee! Yet nice to have it all happening!