In Tibetan Buddhism, prayer wheels, also known as “mani wheels”, are ritual items used to spread prayer throughout the world. It is believed that each spin of the prayer wheel sends blessings and prayers throughout the universe to benefit all beings. For this reason, they are often found fastened to the sides of temples and monasteries for use during rituals and meditation. Buddhist prayer wheels can range in size from small, handheld items, to substantial pieces designed for years of use outdoors. Handheld prayer wheels allow practitioners to carry their faith and release the wheel’s blessings anywhere they go.Tibetan prayer wheels are generally decorated with Buddhist mantras, such as “Om Mani Padme Hum”; the Mantra of Great Compassion associated with the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. The mantra inscribed on the prayer wheels is also written on thin paper by worshippers and wound around the spinning axles inside of the frames. Thus, each spin of the wheel sends thousands of repetitions of the mantra into the world. The more written prayers inside and more revolutions the wheel completes, the greater the strength of its blessings. By turning a prayer wheel, one is able to accumulate wisdom and good karma while simultaneously dispelling bad karma from the world. They also commonly feature the 8 auspicious symbols of Buddhism circling around the center (as pictured below.)
Prayer Wheel with Natural Wood Frame (SKU 3024)“Om Mani Padme Hum” (the Jewel in the Lotus) opens the mind to love and compassion and leads it towards awakening. This mantra is extremely common in Buddhist spinning wheels, as seen inscribed in brass and copper on this wall-mounted prayer wheel.
Each syllable of the prayer has a purifying effect:
OM purifies the veils of the body.
MA purifies the veils of speech.
NI purifies the veils of mind.
PAD purifies the veils of conflicting emotions.
ME purifies the veils of latent conditioning.
HUM purifies the veil that covers knowledge.
Part of the practice of Om Mani Padme Hum is saying it as often as possible in order to maintain its healing and protective auras. That’s why many Buddhists use reminders like prayer wheels, prayer flags, or jewelry, like this prayer wheel bracelet, to remind us of the Great Compassion Mantra and to open our hearts and minds.