Buddhist Ritual Prayer Wheels are forever seen, mounted on a wall or the building around monasteries and stupas. It is another most commonly used ritual offering item in Buddhism.
Crowds of people can be seen doing prayers spinning prayer wheels, especially in the morning and evening in Boudhanath and Swoyambhunath stupas in Nepal. They circle the stupas in a clockwise direction where the prayer wheels are mounted and spin the wheels as they walk. They have the beliefs that they can receive the benefits of the sacred stupas and the prayers sent by the prayer wheels.
Why use Prayer Wheels?
Many Tibetans use the prayer wheel every day, sometimes for several hours continuously. In Tibetan Buddhism, spinning the prayer wheel is an art of surrendering oneself to the Lord with millions and billions of prayers.
Similarly, they are part of meditation practice. Also, spinning the prayer wheel is an act of releasing stress and anxiety and putting oneself into the peace of mind. Believers turn the prayer wheel to accumulate merit, help all beings in the world, and purify karma (intentionally). Turning a prayer wheel with millions of mantras in it is equivalent to chanting those millions of mantras in a quick time.
Similarly, pilgrims are often seen travelling with prayer wheels in their hands, or as part of a pilgrimage, they spin the prayer wheels in the monasteries they visit. Every time the prayer wheel turns, the deity with the spell benefits as many beings as the spell on the wheels.
How prayer wheels are made?
Sacred mantras related to specific gods are filled inside the prayer wheel such as the mantra of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Om Mani Padme Hum. The spells are printed thousands or even more times on very fine thin paper, in some cases millions of times.
The roll of printed paper is wrapped around the shaft or the spindle and it is covered with a cylinder that has various holy Buddhist mantras and the symbols engraved or attached to it.
Buddhist Ritual Prayer Wheels are various in design i.e. handheld prayer wheel, wall-mounted prayer wheel, land grounded prayer wheel and also the desktop or the table to prayer wheel. They can be turned with hands, water power, wind power, firepower and electrical power.