Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 319 - Prayer Flags

Being that our school's name is Everest we take advantage of any opportunity to teach the students about the mountain and its significance in our school name. Today we had a visit from Maxime Jean. He and his team successfully reached the top of Mount Everest in 2004. He talked to the students about the adventure and stressed the importance of patience, perseverance, teamwork, preparation and believing in oneself. On May 16, 1974 while in Kindergarten, Maxime drew a picture of himself climbing Everest. On the exact date, 30 years later his dream became reality as he reached Everest's summit. His experience is an amazing example of how a person can take control of their destiny.
The picture above captures Tibetan prayer flags. These flags can be seen all around Mount Everest. I've included a little exerpt from Wikipedia to explain their significance. The flags are hung in a specific order - Blue (sky/space), White (air/wind), Red (fire), Green (water) and Yellow (earth). Each colour represents one of the five elements and is associated with specific traditions and prayers. They are hung up in sets of five with the blue be at the highest point and the yellow at the lowest.

Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to 'gods,' a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all.

By hanging flags in high places the "Wind Horse" will carry the blessings depicted on the flags to all beings. As wind passes over the surface of the flags which are sensitive to the slightest movement of the wind, the air is purified and sanctified by the Mantras.

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, Tibetans 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. - Wikipedia


susanvg said...

It would be interesting to learn about Greg Mortenson and his work in the Himalayas building schools as part of your connection with Everest. Three Cups of Tea (there is a version for students) or Listen to the Wind - a gorgeous picture book about his adventure and work.

Kristy Johnson said...

A very calming shot! :)