Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

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Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby Mr. G » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:27 pm

http://www.coloradodaily.com/cu-boulder ... z0yqAO6xcz

By Katie Lindberg, For the Colorado Daily
You can see them pretty much around any corner in Boulder: Bright, primary colored squares of cloth strung together, floating in the wind or gently resting on porch railings.

These are Tibetan prayer flags.

The red, white, green, yellow and blue flags that you see are, in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, called "lung-ta," with lung meaning "wind" and ta meaning "horse." These flags traditionally are hung in hopes of good luck and fortune.

Within the Buddhist religion, these flags can be used for merit making and sending out prayers of good intentions through the wind. Although the prayers with good intentions are pretty much the subject for any owners.

These flags have been linked to the hippie counterculture of Boulder, but one may wonder whether the owners and "hangers" of them -- not to mention passersby -- truly know what they represent.

Tenzin Passang, owner of Tibet Gallery on Pearl Street, said, "If people don't know what they are, they come in interested. They will say their neighbors have them and then want to know what they mean."

"I got them from my mom when she traveled to India," University of Colorado senior Jenna Rehnborg said, "because I'm obsessed with Mount Everest and they're hung by people who summit it and at base camps as prayers for the climbers."

Rehnborg admits to "not knowing how they're supposed to be used," and said, "they're actually in a drawer somewhere right now."

Erica Laley, a senior at Naropa University, does not own prayer flags, but she knows the general gist of them.

"The prayer flags are meant to bring peace and compassion," she said. "The different colors represent the different elements."

Laley can even name which element goes with each color. She said she can credit knowing all of this through some of the special core required courses at Naropa such as Contemplative Practice.

As to whether Laley's fellow students and others in Boulder actually know what their own prayer flags mean, she said she's skeptical.

Holly Gayley is an assistant professor in CU's Religious Studies department, specializing in Buddhism and Tibetan literature. In her office she has a small set of paper prayer flags hanging above her doorway, but, according to tradition, "If they're made of paper they're purely for decoration."

As to why so many in the Boulder area have prayer flags adorning their porches or doorways, Gayley credits the large Buddhist population in Boulder, as well as her opinion that all things Tibetan attract interest in the area as well.

Also, "Who wouldn't want to send prayers of compassion out into the world?"
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:22 pm

Yeah...in certain areas they are like a form of nuevo art, and considered nice things to have hanging.

In my neck of the woods they are considered heathen flags of the damned, and bound to cause trouble.

Which reminds me Mr Gordo....mine are quite tattered and worn....time to bury them and order some more. :smile: Thanks.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby Mr. G » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:41 pm

In my neck of the woods they are considered heathen flags of the damned, and bound to cause trouble.


LOL. Too funny.

I figured by your name, you lived in new mexico. The groundbreaking renegade architect Mike Reynolds lives there:



There's got to be some liberals there. :smile:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:55 pm

Well they live in Santa Fe or Taos for the most part, some in albuquerque.

The locals....older hispanic communities are acceptable of variance having a recent history of discrimination and injustice. The more recent inductees, especially to a semirural area such as mine are right wing survivalists libertarian types....not a real red neck amonst them, but thinking themselves such as they ride pickemup trucks and own guns. AS if you could buy a redneck. Fat... not fat from working hard and eating good but fat from sitting around watching the telly fat....just stuff to carry around, unpurposely.
Spread it around fat, mostly between the ears but also in the eyes.

LIke not say..... farmington new mexico.... where you had locals and then the gas wells. With the gas came the gas workers which consider themselves over time locals but are really just chasing easy money. So the politic becomes the politic of the easy money gasdrilling type..conservative. Though those are real red necks not what I find in my area. Pretend rednecks.

My area...
Living examples of survivalists who want government out of the way...commuting on government bullt and maintained roads to their city jobs every day...going to live off the land on the acre and a half of land with no water and their guns when and if things go south. Going to eat and drink the guns and bullets is my guess.


Spread it around fat.(no personal offense mr gordo) :smile:
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:48 pm

And me, returning home, forgetting to call to order prayer flags, (now several hours later) to find prayer flags ripped from mooring and draped by entranceway with no apparent windstorm nor cause apparent, from mooring where it has been tethered for several months...

leading me to say to myself...... for how many times this past months time, I cannot count....

OK!! I get it already...synchronicity, synchronicity!!

Mr. Gordo you are now implicated as partial participant, in this malestrom of synchronocity I do presently abide :smile: .
Though you knew it not!
Or to paraphrase another past coloradian(speaking of colorado, near Aspen actually) before his timely demise...when the going gets strange...the strange get going!
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby Chaz » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:13 pm

Mr. G:

Nice article, but lets not be fooled into thinking that Boulder has Buddhist prayer flags everywhere. It doesn't.

I live about 30 miles from Boulder and I go there regularly. My Sangha is there as are many of my Buddhist friends.

There really aren't that many places where you can find flags being flown.

Boulder has a large Buddhist population to be sure, but Ms. Lindberg's article exagerates just a bit, I think.
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Re: Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby Mr. G » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:24 pm

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that ron...synchronicity indeed! :smile:

Ah, thanks for the low down Chaz!
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:41 am

Bolder, last I heard, parts at least....prayer flags or not, was in the process of burning down....coincidentally.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby Chaz » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:37 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:Bolder, last I heard, parts at least....prayer flags or not, was in the process of burning down....coincidentally.


Boulder isn't "in the process of burning down", Ron

The fires are mainly NW of town up in the mountains, but it's destroyed around 170 houses. The fire currently covers about 10 square miles and around 3500 people have been out of their homes all week. The authorities were going to let folks start going back to their homes (or what's left of them) today, but high, dry winds have prevented that from happening.

It's been dry as a bone for several weeks - not unusual for Colorado at this time of year. Wild fires are always a problem in the spring and fall. They're also not uncommon, but this fire is bigger than most - maybe the biggest wildfire of the year.

I hope it gets contained soon. People want to go home and I don't blame them. I also don't want to see more people get displaced. My sangha just moved into new digs on the far west side of Boulder - right at the mouth of Boulder Canyon - after a lengthy search. It would be a shame to loose that place and have to start searching all over again.

I wonder if a string of prayer flags going up on smoke has the same merit as the wind shreading them.
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Re: Tibetan prayer flags a booming trend in Boulder

Postby Chaz » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:49 pm

mr. gordo wrote:I figured by your name, you lived in new mexico. The groundbreaking renegade architect Mike Reynolds lives there:


I've driven by Reynolds' compound several times. I've never gone in to explore, but it looks pretty amazing, even from the highway. That juxtaposed on another community along that same highway near Tres Piedras - pretty scarry place.


There's got to be some liberals there.



I would imagine :twothumbsup: .
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