Buddhist Smoke Offering Ceremonies

Offering Prayers for Raising Prayer Flags

There are two smoke offering ceremonies that we often use when putting up new prayer flags. Ceremonies are not mandatory, of course, but they make a special event out of the raising of the flags and help to put us in the proper altruistic state of mind.

It is always better to learn the procedures and meanings of Tibetan ceromonies from a qualified lama but many people have written to us asking that these texts be made available. When done with an attitude of generosity and compassion - I see no harm in doing these simple prayers. Smoke offering prayers are recited while burning incense substances. The simplest method is burning Tibetan incense sticks or spooning incense powder onto hot coals. Tibetans often build wood fires on which they place green juniper and other aromatic medicinal saps, resins and herbs while chanting the prayers. There are traditional tunes and rhythms for these prayers but we westerners often recite them in English so that we can follow their meaning. Toward the end of the prayer pass the folded up prayer flags through the smoke (careful not to touch them to the ground) and then put them up.