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The “Wind Horse,” is the name given to the essence that carries the good wishes from the prayer flags across the Himalayas. The essence that spreads good all around.

In every direction I look, I am reminded of the wind horse. The horse-loving farm girl in me is soothed by that idea.

Walking home one afternoon I looked down a side alley to see a lady making prayer flags. I stopped, asked permission to photograph her and starting snapping away. In a country where the landscape is filled with flags fluttering in the wind to actually see them being made thrilled me!

With the old carved wood block, she rolled the ink across the face of the block, put down a fresh piece of cloth and then used what looked like a rolling pin to press the design to the cloth.

Curious me had to find out more. What is their meaning? They are pretty, and I love pretty….ugly isn’t allowed in vocabulary or surroundings in my life. I pulled up Wikipedia, typed in Prayer Flags and was more than pleasantly surprised to find out that they symbolize peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom.

Now all you soapbox stomping-types...get down and calm down. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all. Now, isn’t that just a lovely concept…good wishes that bring benefit to all.

Hmmm, maybe prayer flags should become a worldwide phenomenon!!!

Oh mercy, should I bring up spirit?!? Yes, I think I shall….acting on a spiritual level, the emanating vibrations protect from harm and bring harmony to everything touched by the wind. On my walk up the “hill” to Namo Buddha Monastery the trees were woven with prayer flags. It was beautiful!

There are two kinds of prayer flags: horizontal ones, called lung ta meaning "Wind Horse" in Tibetan (now I understand why they attract me so), and the vertical called Darchor translated to mean "to increase life, fortune, health and wealth" (dar) to "all sentient beings" (cho). They come in sets of five, one in each of five colors. The five colors represent the elements and are arranged from left to right in specific order: blue = sky and space, white = water, red = fire, green – air and wind, and then yellow = earth.



Compassion + Good Will + Spirit = for ALL



Learning the background and history of the prayer flags heightened my appreciation for looking out across the horizon and seeing them fluttering in the wind...along with the rainbows. They are everywhere. The Tibetans have such a love for peace and happiness. The fact that they are not related to a “God” but instead are visual reminders of good, of wanting to spread compassion on the wings of wind is BEAUTIFUL!

That afternoon when I stopped to take the pictures of the lady printing the flags, I bought every one that she made while I was taking pictures. They were sent to the States in that “Going Postal” package, to friends whom I thought would appreciate all of the meaning behind the flags. Mine hangs above my desk and reminds to be filled with peace and compassion in all of my work.

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copyright 2011-2017 Loxley Browne

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