Prayer Wheels མ་ཎི་འཁོར་ལོ 

Prayer Wheels is a unique Tibetan Buddhism practice. In Buddhist practice, the key factor is the mind. But, application of the body and speech also important factors to strengthen our commitment. Meditation and yogic practice are common for the perfection and peace of mind. To generate the mind of enlightenment, there are other ways like prostration, pilgrimage circumambulation (kora), mantra recitation and the turning of prayer-wheels. Rolls of text with the mantra, or sacred words, of the Buddha of compassion Avalokiteshvara and other sacred prayers are coiled inside the wheel. A master then consecrates the wheel. So that, when it turns the blessings of compassion, helps to bring peace and happiness to all the beings.

An old Tibetan man is spinning a prayer wheels

The Buddhist practitioner turns them while reciting the mantras, meditating on the deity of compassion. And, feeling compassion for all the beings. As per Buddhist text that Lhamo Sengdongma, or the Lion-faced Dakini, gave this practice of turning prayer wheel to master Padmasambhava for the sake of the people in the degenerate age. He in turn, brought it to Tibet in the eighth century. Since then it has become a very popular practice, especially for elderly Tibetans.

Prayer Wheels around a Buddhist monastery in Tibet

Tibetan Culture and Prayer wheels

Prayer wheels are found all over Tibet. It is also found where Tibetan culture is influential. There are many types of prayer wheels. However, small hand-held wheels are the most common by far. Tibetan people carry them around for hours, and even on long pilgrimages. People spinning them any time they have a hand free. Larger wheels, which may be several yards (meters) high and one or two yards (meters) in diameter. It can contain myriad copies of the mantra. And it may also contain sacred texts, up to hundreds of volumes. They can be found mounted in rows next to pathways, to be spun by people entering a shrine. Or, along with the route which people use as they walk slowly around and around a sacred site. The form of spiritual practice called circumambulation.

Using methods

Stream spins prayer wheels are also placed where they can be spun by wind or by flowing water. Smaller mounted wheels can be spun by the heat rising from a flame of butter lamps, or placed on a table top to be spun by hand. Tibetan Buddhist Mani wheels are always spun clockwise. It rotates the syllables of the mantra so that they would pass a viewer in the order that they would be read. It follows the direction of the sun. Moreover,  it matches the clockwise circumambulation of stupas. Practitioners of Bon, the pre Buddhist spiritual tradition of Tibet, spin their prayer wheels counter-clockwise. The same direction they use in circumambulation.

Folks of Tibetan devotees spinning their Prayer Wheels

Effect of the Prayer Wheels

If someone with AIDS, cancer or some other disease meditated like this and every day, for as many hours as possible. There would definitely be some effect. Quite a few people who have completely recovered from terminal cancer through meditation. Even though the person might not know about Dharma, about reincarnation or karma. Because they want to have peace of mind now and a peaceful death. The reason is that they care about having a healthy body and a healthy mind. They should use this extremely powerful and meaningful method of healing.

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