How to Dispose of Buddhist Prayer Flags

by Alyson Paige
Plastic American flags should be destroyed with the same care given to fabric flags.

Plastic American flags should be destroyed with the same care given to fabric flags.

Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags are made with sacred symbols and Buddhist texts. Prayer flags are more than pieces of cotton with lovely pictures: Symbols and prayers on a prayer flag make it a sacred object. From the moment prayer flags are constructed, the disposal process begins. Dispose of Buddhist prayer flags by direct or indirect means.

Make or purchase Buddhist prayer flags made of cotton to facilitate the disposal process. Cotton prayer flags are made of purer material than synthetic polyester, so they burn and disintegrate more quickly. As cotton flags age, they serve as reminders of the central Buddhist teaching of impermanence (anicca). Cotton Buddhist prayer flags disintegrate quickly enough to remind Buddhists of impermanence.

Allow Buddhist prayer flags to whip in the wind, exposed to the elements and the seasons. Pay attention as the flags fade with the prayers with which the flags were made. Sacred Buddhist reminders of the impermanence of all reality, prayer flags invite renewal and replacement with new flags. They invite final disposal as well.

Burn Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags to dispose of them. Do not let prayer flags touch the ground as they are burned. Remember the compassionate intentions for all beings with which the flags were made. Just as sacred Buddhist mantras, prayers and symbols lifted on the winds reach every part of the globe, so do the ashes from burned flags float and fly on the air currents and return to the earth in a final release of blessings.

Hang new prayer flags beside fading flags. Allow old Buddhist prayer flags to organically disintegrate. The disintegration process contrasts with new flags with renewed prayers and mantras releasing new blessings to the world. Prayer flags illustrate the continuing cycle of birth and death.

About the Author

Alyson Paige has a master's degree in canon law and began writing professionally in 1998. Her articles specialize in culture, business and home and garden, among many other topics.

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