The Mystical Arts of Tibet
The bright and colorful flags that decorate the campus, Great Hall and Commons
are prayer flags, or Lungta, that sanctify the air, purify
the mind and spread blessing to all beings. The flags
have been hand blocked by Buddhist monks in Nepal, and
each flag is imprinted with sacred mantras (prayers) for
peace, compassion and wisdom.
Contrary to popular belief, prayer flags do not carry
prayers to the gods, but spread compassion and good will
through the universe. It is believed that the prayers
are permanently part of the world when the mantras fade
from the flags. They may be hung inside or outside, as
the sentiments will be carried by even the slightest breeze.
Hanging new prayer flags is usually a reason to celebrate,
and they are often placed beside old flags to acknowledge
life’s cycle of new replacing the old. Prayer flags are
hung in a specific order from left to right, starting
with blue and moving to white, red, yellow, and green.
In Hinduism, the number five represents a wholeness
found in nature, and similarly, the five prayer flags
represent the interconnected nature of our universe. The
five prayer flags each represent a different element,
direction, Buddha, and wisdom, found in the chart below.