A reader asked how Tibetan prayer flags work. Well, here’s a nice explanation of what they are and how they are believed to bestow positivity and reverence for the Dharma (the Buddhist path). And here are some wonderful photographs of them from FourGates.com.
Here’s FourGate’s answer:
What are Tibetan Prayer Flags?
The Tibetan word for prayer flag is “Lung ta,” meaning “Wind Horse.” When the wind blows (expressing the quality and nature of mind) the sacred prayer flag flaps in the breeze.
The prayers contained on the flag are carried out to all beings as a blessing. Seeing the flag also has a practical benefit of reminding people to be mindful of the Dharma as they go about their business.
The traditional five colors represent the five Buddha families and five elements. Blue-space, White-water, Red-fire, Green-air & wind, Yellow-earth. The auspicious symbol images invoke the power and influence of the beings or symbols depicted. The prayer is written in Tibetan and always expresses positive intentions for the happiness, enlightenment and protection of all beings. The expressive blessed quality of the flag rests mostly in the wood block print, which imparts the prayers and blessings. Everyone loves these flags since they are so lovely to display and express such a generous,heartfelt Loving-Kindness for all beings.
Purchasing prayer flags benefits the Tibetan Refugees who make them as cottage industries businesses.
The ultimate website for prayer flag purchase, in terms of the sheer variety of flags available, is PrayerFlags.com, which was founded by Timothy Clark in 1970. But for ease in shopping, even Amazon.com carries them. They are especially lovely flapping in a summer garden breeze.