The Tibetan Prayer Wheel.
The first item we looked at in the Curiosity Corner was the Tibetan Demon Mask and while we were acquiring this item our friend David Barrett of Project Paranormal picked up a Tibetan Prayer Wheel, we could say this was coincidence but I don’t believe in those :-). I realised this was another item we knew nothing about so we decided to take a closer look.
What is it?
A Tibetan prayer wheel can take many forms but the one in the picture is an hand held version. The origin of the prayer wheel is not certain but some think the design took influence from Chinese revolving bookcases. The idea behind the prayer wheel is when you use it it is the same as performing a mantra and with this helping to cleanse negative energies and even provide way to enlightenment.
How is it made?
The construction of a prayer wheel consists of a metal cylinder with an handle. Inside the metal cylinder Buddhist texts are placed so when you spin the wheel (with the help of a small weight attached by a chain to help it spin) each revolution counts as a repetition of the mantra. With each repetition it is said that blessings are released into the world.
How is it Used?
The prayer wheel in some communities are used extensively and can be found operating in many different ways. The hand held prayer wheel will be used by some during the day whenever they have a spare hand while some may spin a fixed prayer wheel located in the village center or by the side of the road. Some prayer wheels are powered in different ways, powered by hand, powered by water running in a stream, powered by the wind and some powered by the heat from a candle. There are many different ways to spin the prayer wheel and with today’s technologies you can even get hold of apps and software for computers and phones.
Prayer wheels in practice?
Let us now look at when the prayer wheel is used and what for. As mentioned above some prayer wheels can be powered by running water let’s say from a stream, the water that comes in contact with the prayer wheel is said then to be blessed and any living creature that comes in contact with the water will also have blessings be it in health, protection or enlightenment. The same can be said for the ones powered by the wind or light, the living creatures that come in contact with the air, light or heat that has been in contact with a prayer wheel will receive blessings.
Hand held prayer wheels are also used in meditations and visualisations, this can be done in many ways but as the prayer wheel spins clockwise (as seen from above) there is often the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum found on the metal cylinder rotating. Some people will chant the mantra while using their minds to visualise blessings of love, compassion and kindness emitting all around them. The action of spinning the prayer wheel at the same time as chanting the mantra and visualizing your blessings helps you train your mind to ignore all other distractions while performing your meditation hence helping you to focus and relax.
There is a lot more to the prayer wheel and methods of use and we will update this article as we come across this information, and please by all means email us if you would like to add anything.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
Before we finish this article we would just like to look at the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum to help get a grasp of its meaning. Below is a brief explanation of the mantra.
Om mani padme hum is a simple but powerful mantra that helps the reciter to achieve perfection against vices associated with the six realms of existence. The mantra is broken up into its six syllables with each one representing a realm of existence, Om, ma, ni, pad, me, hum. Each one of these syllables have great significance and below i have given a brief insight into the significances, please note these can vary with different understandings and this is just a brief look at a common explanation.
Om, this is the sound and vibration of the universe and is the most important vibration that is said to help destroy attachments to ego.
Ma, is said to establish ethics and help destroy jealousy.
Ni, helps to grow patience and helps to cut ties with desires.
Pad, leads to perseverance and takes away ties to prejudice.
Me, helps build concentration and take away attachments to possessiveness.
Hum, leads the way to wisdom while destroying hatred.