A prayer flag is a colourful rectangular cloth often found strung along mountain ridges and high peaks to “join” the mountains in the Himalayas. It is thought that prayer flags originated with BON, a ‘religious’ practice which predated Buddhism in Tibet – so the flags have been around for a very long time.
Traditional prayer flags include woodblock printed text and images of mantras, blessings and prayers.
(Definition of Mantra
: a sound, word, or phrase that is repeated by someone who is praying or meditating : a word or phrase that is repeated often or that expresses someone's basic beliefs. example: Be not afraid)
Prayer flags most often come in sets of five: one in each of five colors. The five colors are arranged from left to right in a specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. The five colors represent the five elements. Blue symbolizes the sky and space, white symbolizes the air and wind, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. It is thought that health and harmony are produced through the balance of the five elements. In addition to mantras, prayers for a long life of good fortune are often included for the person who mounts the flags.
Symbolically prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers up to God, which is a common misconception; rather the flags blown by the wind, spread the prayers and mantras into the pervading space dispersing good will and compassion, thereby bringing benefit to all. Prayer flags are sometimes referred to as WIND HORSES.
By hanging flags in high places the blessings depicted on the flags help everyone. The prayers of a flag become a permanent part of the universe as the images fade from exposure to the elements. Just as life moves on and is replaced by new life,
When Change is desired, people renew their hopes for the world by continually mounting new flags alongside the old. This act symbolizes a welcoming of life's changes and an acknowledgment that all beings are part of a greater ongoing cycle. The recent earthquake in Nepal saw a great number of new flags strung.
GC42 has requested Prayer FISH (as Fish are a symbol of Christianity) to be sent by each of the congregations to Newfoundland for the August conference, to be hung from the ceiling of the convention buildings – what a perfect combination of symbolism and tradition demonstrating a desire for change and engagement with all.
You can leave your mantra, blessing, prayers and messages in the Message Box (click on the link) http://www.knoxunitedvancouver.org/ministries/general-council-42 and we will forward them on in a Prayer Fish to the General Council.
There is a physical card that you can write in at coffee time following Sunday Service each week in July. We will be forwarding the Knox Prayer Fish on August 1st.