Sunday, October 19, 2014

Prayer Flags

Today was a bright Sunday morning when I returned to the Buddhist temple to visit friends. As I passed the threshold, Tibetan prayer flags fluttered in the breeze. 

Some years ago, I was impressed by the beauty of Tibetan prayer flags, so I decided to put some up in front of my house. However, at the last moment, I was equally impressed by my lack of understanding. For one thing, I had no idea regarding the underlying spiritual practice associated with prayer flags. I worried that my admiration would turn into cultural appropriation. Furthermore, I didn't know the meaning of the text. Since prayer seemed like a serious thing, I didn't want to send prayers without understanding the meaning. In the end, I decided to not display prayer flags in my home. 

When I see prayer flags, I offer my respect, 
but someday I would like to understand them better. 

After I left the temple, I walked to Corbin Park to see the autumn leaves. I was impressed by the vibrant colors and the sparkling drops of dew on the back of each leaf. Having just reflected on the meaning of the prayer flags, it suddenly occurred to me that the leaves are also a form of prayer. Each leaf enables life flourish and grow. 

Nature is a kind of spirituality that does not require temples,
 rituals, ceremonies, or sacred texts. In fact, nature is the sacred text.  

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