You may have seen hundreds of arrayed Prayer flags around the stupa which are rich in symbolic meaning. Prayer flags are beautiful and calming to look at. You may be curious about them. They’re believed to bring peace and prosperity to all around them. The symbols and mantras on the flags are meant to broadcast blessings to the surrounding countryside. One of the most widespread mantras is the bodhisattva of compassion “Om Mani Padme Hung”. Flags were originally painted by hand. In the 15th century wood-block printing was introduced. The most common image on the flags is the felicitously named Wind Horse or Lung-ta, known as the “Wish Fulfilling Jewel of Enlightenment” which represents good fortune.
There are also the Eight Auspicious Symbols on Prayer Flags:
The Parasol – for protection from the evil eye.
The Lotus – a symbol of spiritual growth and purity.
The Conch Shell – declares the teachings of the enlightened ones.
The Golden Fish – for happiness and beings saved from the sea of suffering.
The Treasure Vase – the sign for fulfilment of spiritual and material wishes.
The Endless Knot – for the meditative mind and infinite knowledge of the Buddha.
The Victory Banner – for the victory of wisdom over ignorance and the overcoming of obstacles.
There are many others such as The Vajra, The Four Dignities, The Dharma Wheel and The Seven Precious Possessions of a Monarch.
Here are some facts about Prayer flags:
1. They’re steeped in Buddhist tradition
The first prayer flags were used by Gautama Buddha.
2. The flags don’t carry mantras to the gods
This is a common misconception: rather, the mantras printed on the flags are carried on the wind and believed to spread goodwill and positive energy wherever they go.
3. The colours hold meaning
Tibetan prayer flags colours have their own meaning. White represents the air, blue represents the sky, green symbolizes water, red symbolizes fire and yellow symbolizes earth.