Sunday, May 1, 2016

Prayer Flags on Everest

Renewal/////Prayer Flags on Everest

One hundred prayer flags 
on the Mountain Kingdom
dancing in samir

blue for sky, green for water, red for fire
white for air, yellow for earth
and gold for souls long gone
flinging blessings
for healing
and good fortune
and long life

Prayer flags bearing blessings
may everyone be happy
may everyone be free from misery
may everyone be free from attachment

the mountain folks believe that blessings
are spread by the wind
there you see the goddess
bearing three jewels in her hair
and there you see the flags of
sacred animals
snow lion

Prayer flags soon evaporate
faded by weather
shredded by wind
bright hues pastelled into blue mist
with each new rising of the sun.

our lives come clean
flow off and away
blessed by the elements
taking us out to do what is required

there is joy
as all is forgiven in earth, water, air
we take shelter inside a prayer

When the air gets thin...
 oxygen will be there in the
form of blessings

Tibet, where shamans used plain flags in healing ceremonies, and legends of the Buddha’s prayers were written on battle flags used by warring deities called devas and asuras.  The transmission of Indian Buddhist Sutras to the rest of the world on pieces of cloth is the more prosaic explanation.  They are now a common sight throughout the Himalaya.
Prayer flags come in five colours – blue for the sky, white for air/wind, red for fire, green for water and yellow for earth – and are traditionally woodblock-printed with images and texts.  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to examine these in detail on your Everest Base Camp trek. The centre of the flag often depicts a Lungta (strong horse), a symbol of speed and transformation of bad fortune to good, bearing three jewels on its back that represent the Buddha, Buddhist teachings and the Buddhist community.  Images of four sacred animals – dragon, garuda, tiger and snow lion – can appear in the corners.  Covering the rest of the flag are versions of the 400 or so mantras (powerful ritual utterances) and prayers for the life and fortune of the person tying the flag.
Himalayans believe that when the wind blows the flags, it spreads the blessings, good will and compassion embodied in the images and writings across the land.  Eventually the prints fade and the prayers become part of the universe, and the prayer flags are renewed.  When you see them on your Everest Base Camp trek, treat them with respect but don’t be afraid to linger.  Their brightness may be one of your most vivid memories.

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