For centuries Tibetans have placed prayer flags around their homes, at sacred sites, near monasteries, and on mountain passes, as an offering to the enlightened ones and as prayer for the benefit of all beings. As these prayers are carried into the wind, the blessings of the Buddha’s teachings are evoked, auspicious circumstance is created, and obstacles of all kinds are diverted.
The color of a prayer flag and the symbols printed on it create a prayer or offering that the wind distributes to the world each time it brushes against the flag. The Tibetan word for a horizontal prayer flag is Lung ta,which translates literally as “wind horse”. The prayers of a flag become a permanent part of the universe as the images fade and the flags disintegrate from wind and sun. Just as life moves on and is replaced by new life, Tibetans renew their hopes for the world by continually mounting new flags alongside of the old.