The Tibetan Nuns Project sells Tibetan prayer flags made and blessed by the Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute, near Dharamsala, northern India.
The nuns have been making prayer flags for many years now and the sale of these specially blessed objects helps provide food, health care, shelter and education for the over 230 nuns who live at the nunnery, as well as help support around 500 nuns at 6 other nunneries in India.
Traditionally, prayer flags come in sets of five, with one flag in each of five colors, left to right in this specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. The five colors represent the elements: blue symbolizes the sky and space, white symbolizes the air and wind, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth.
Prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be spread by the wind and bring good will and compassion to benefit all beings.
Prayer flags are made of block-printed fabric using traditional printing techniques going back hundreds of years.
When raising prayer flags it is important to have a good motivation. One should not have selfish or limiting thoughts; when hanging prayer flags one should wish that all beings everywhere will benefit and find happiness.
Tibetan tradition considers prayer flags to be holy. The flags contain sacred texts and symbols and should be treated respectfully. They should not be placed on the ground or put in the trash. When disposing of old prayer flags one should burn them so that the smoke may carry their blessings to the heavens.
You can buy Tibetan prayer flags through the Tibetan Nuns Project online store. They come in a variety of types and sizes of prayer flags as follows:
These are perfect for small spaces such as above a desk or computer or in a kitchen window. Each mini flag in the set of 5 has one symbol and one syllable of the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM on it. Probably the oldest Buddhist mantra and still the most widespread among Tibetans is this six-syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. This mantra sends blessings of compassion to the six worldly realms. Buy mini prayer flags here.
The Wind Horse or Lung-ta is the most prevalent symbol used on prayer flags. In the center of the prayer flag is a powerful horse (lung-ta) bearing three flaming jewels on its back. These jewels represent the Buddha, the Dharma (Buddhist teachings), and the Sangha (Buddhist community) which are the three cornerstones of Tibetan philosophical tradition. The horse (Ta) is a symbol of speed and the transformation of bad fortune to good fortune. Surrounding the Lung ta are mantras and Buddhist sacred symbols. In the corners of the prayer flags are images four powerful animals, also known as the Four Dignities: the dragon, the garuda, the tiger, and the snow lion. Windhorse prayer flags made by the nuns are available in three sizes. Buy Windhorse Prayer flags here.
Tara represents virtuous and enlightened action. It is said that her compassion for living beings is stronger than a mother’s love for her children. She also brings about longevity, protects earthly travel, and guards her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment. The Tara prayer flags have a lovely image of Tara in the center. You can order Tara prayer flags in three sizes here.
Padmasambhava, the renowned saint of the eighth century, was a central figure in shaping Buddhism’s history in Tibet. Revered as the second Buddha, Guru Rinpoche (Precious Guru) conquered the local deities and demons of Tibet and bound them by oath to become guardians of Buddhism. Purchase Guru Rinpoche prayer flags in three sizes here.
This is a common prayer flag, especially at New Year, symbolizing new ventures and beginnings. Gyaltsen Tsenpo prayer flags are printed with sutras bestowed by Lord Buddha to Indra, king of the gods to overcome his enemies and achieve victory. Order Gyaltsen Tsenpo prayer flags in three sizes here.
Prayer Flag Painting Auction in March 2015
Watch our blog and the Tibetan Nuns Project Facebook page for a special fundraising auction of five prayer flag paintings by the award-winning New York artist, Miya Ando.
The online auction will run from (International Women’s Day, March 8th until March 23, 2015. You can preview the paintings here: http://paddle8.com/auction/tibetan