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Ancient Tibetan Prayer Flags Offer Hope for Troubled Times

February 13, 2009

This April, lamas will teach Westerners the ancient art and wisdom of
Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags, to bring good fortune and prosperity in
uncertain times.

(Media-Newswire.com) - Charlottesville, Va. ( Feb. 11, 2009 ) While
wealth and abundance may not be reflected in our bank accounts these
days, they could be fluttering toward us on the wind.

Hanging colorful prayer flags on a tree outside your home can bring
prosperity, inner strength, wisdom and good fortune, according to
ancient Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

The good fortune doesn’t stop there. The prayers waft into the
atmosphere to bless all beings in the universe. Not a bad return on a
simple investment of cloth and string.

On April 13-14, 2009, this ancient and beautiful tradition of creating
prayer flags will be taught by Tibetan lamas at Ligmincha Institute’s
Serenity Ridge retreat center ( www.ligmincha.org ) near
Charlottesville, Va.

Tibetan lamas Lharila Kalsang Nyima and Geshe Tenzin Yeshe will guide
students in the traditional method of printing prayer flags using carved
wooden blocks. The lamas will explain the spiritual significance of the
flags and show participants how to raise them with the right mindset to
bring happiness, long life, prosperity and wellbeing.

These lamas hail from the Tibetan Bon tradition, the ancient indigenous
culture of Tibet, from which prayers flags are believed to have
originated thousands of years ago. Many fear the Bon culture - one of
the world’s most ancient cultural and spiritual traditions - is in
danger of being lost as so many Tibetan Bon practitioners have been
displaced from their homeland under Chinese rule.

Instruction on the Tibetan tradition of creating health, vitality and
good fortune continues April 15-19 when Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
teaches “Riding the Wind Horse of Good Fortune: Increasing Your Inner
Strength and Prosperity.”

Tenzin Wangyal – an accomplished author and international teacher - will
instruct students in the ancient "Sang Chod" ritual surrounding the
raising of prayer flags and show how these powerful teachings are
important in today’s world.

History of Prayer Flags

For many centuries the Tibetan people draped prayer flags from homes and
trees, monasteries and mountain peaks in the Himalayas to bless the
surrounding countryside. The tradition is believed to have originated in
the Tibetan Bon tradition, the ancient indigenous culture that predated
Buddhism in Tibet.

The prayers flags are printed with sacred images, symbols and mantras,
which are carried on the wind out to benefit the world.

Red, blue, green, yellow and white rectangles of cloth are strung to
form the flags. These colors represent the five elements, which in the
Bon tradition are fire (red), water (blue), air (green), earth (yellow)
and space (white).

The flags are hung in a specific order and sequence. Though
traditionally hung outside, they can also be hung indoors where slight
movements of air send vibrations and blessings out of the home and into
the world.

Originally the writings and renderings on prayer flags were hand
painted. Later woodblocks allowed artists to reproduce the designs with
a printing process. Since prayer flags were discouraged under Chinese
rule, many of the traditional prayer flags today are made in Nepal and
India by Tibetan refugees.


About the Bon Buddhist Tradition

Bon is Tibet’s oldest spiritual tradition. It includes teachings and
practices applicable to all aspects of life, including our relationship
with nature; our ethical behavior; the development of love, compassion,
joy and equanimity; and the once-secret high teachings of dzogchen, the
“Great Perfection.” While much in modern Bon Buddhism is similar to
Tibetan Buddhism, Bon retains the richness and flavor of its
pre-Buddhist roots.

About Ligmincha Institute

Founded in 1992, Ligmincha Institute (www.ligmincha.org) is a nonprofit
organization that works to preserve the ancient teachings, arts,
sciences, language and literature of Tibet in Central Virginia.

During the Chinese Cultural Revolution countless Bon monasteries,
religious texts, ritual items and artworks were destroyed and many
teachers driven into exile. Ligmincha strives to keep these teachings
alive so they are not lost to the world forever.

At Ligmincha Bon remains a living tradition, a wellspring of timeless
wisdom and knowledge that is highly relevant and applicable to our
modern Western lives.

About Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, founding director of Ligmincha Institute,
was one of the first Tibetan teachers to bring the Bon teachings to the
West. He is an acclaimed author as well as a highly respected teacher to
students throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe. Fluent in
English, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is renowned for his depth of wisdom,
his clear, engaging teaching style and his ability to make the ancient
Tibetan teachings highly accessible and relevant to the lives of Westerners.

He was born in Amritsar, India, not long after his parents escaped their
Tibetan homeland in 1959 during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. At age
10, he was ordained as a monk at Menri Monastery near Dolanji, India.

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche moved to the United States in 1991 when he was
awarded the first of two Rockefeller Fellowships to study at Rice
University in Houston, Texas. In 1994 he received a grant from the
National Endowment for the Humanities to pursue research on the Bon
tradition. He lives in Charlottesville, Va.

His books include Healing With Form, Energy, and Light; Wonders of the
Natural Mind; The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep; Tibetan Sound
Healing; and Unbounded Wholeness: Dzogchen, Bon and the Logic of the
Nonconceptual, written in collaboration with Anne Carolyn Klein, chair
of religious studies at Rice University.

For more information or to register for the prayer flag teachings, visit
www.ligmincha.org.

Contact:

Polly Turner
434-987-7922
Communications2@ligmincha.org

Mary Ellen McCourt
Communications1@ligmincha.org
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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