Consecutive Days Riding: 22 Consecutive Days Blogging: 23
Today’s Mileage: 10 Total Trip Mileage: 218
As promised, today I will introduce a new feature to the Blog site, my Pilgrim’sPrayer Flag. In an earlier Blog I noted that prayer is an important part of the Longing which motivates us to start a pilgrimage. We often carry prayers for ourselves, for others, or for larger causes (world peace) with us as we journey to sacred sites, places where we converse with and/or experience the divine. Prayer is an important ritualistic aspect in all of the major world wisdom traditions. While the exact form of the prayer rituals will vary greatly from tradition to tradition, and even within traditions, they all represent an interaction, on some level, with the divine.
In my Psychology of Religion class, I teach that prayers can be divided into two general groups: Petitionary Prayers that make a request of the divine for some individual or group cause (health, wealth, happiness, victory) and Praise Prayers which express thanks, gratitude and recognition of greatness and power. The website www.worldprayers.org uses a system that has four categories of prayer. These include: Adorations – prayers of devotion, surrender, love, praise and offering; Invocations – prayers of petition, supplication, calling forth and healing; Celebrations – prayers of thanksgiving, initiation, affirmation and blessing; and Meditations – prayers of reflection, contemplation, being and teaching.
One does not have to look very hard to recognize the importance of prayer. I conducted a Google search on prayer and received over 37 million sites. Limiting the search to prayer requests narrowed it to just 2.5 million sites!
Back to my Pilgrim’sPrayerFlag. Prayer Flags are a colorful are highly visible component of Tibetian Buddhism. They are often transported by pilgrims to sacred sites and were used to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. Traditionally these prayers were not prayers to “gods” but were meant to wave in the winds and spread goodwill and compassion to all. There were two types: Lung ta – colorful squares printed with woodblocks strung in a horizonal fashion; and Darchor – verticle streamers meant to increase life, fortune, health and wealth of all sentient beings. For purposes of my Blog and pilgrimage, I am going to embrace the Darchor physical style (see the streaming banner attached to the staff on my pilgrim symbol) but open it to all four forms of prayer. I will carry the prayerflag with me and retire it on a weekly basis, replacing it with a new clean virtual banner. Please click on the tab at the top of this page to leave a prayer or review the prayers shared by others.
I have included photos from our route through the Everglades. In one of my upcoming Blogs we will “contemplate” this beautiful expanse of grass, swamp and waterways as a pilgrimage site.
A special thanks to the photographers associated with Panramio for the beautiful scenes from along the roadside.