Posted 4 years ago
I picked this at a flea market. The cylinder is copper and contains the prayer scroll as seen in the pictures
Prayer wheels are associated with the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. They contain scrolls which have texts written on them. These texts are often mantras, a term which means 'instrument of thought', a particularly helpful definition within the context of Buddhism. Buddhist belief is that each mantra - which may be a verse, syllable or series of syllables - represents a different quality or aspect of enlightenment, such as love, compassion, energy or fearlessness. Perhaps the most common mantra, and one which is often inscribed on the outside of the prayer wheel, is 'Om Mani Padme Hum' which means 'Hail to the jewel in the heart of the lotus'. This is a reference to the Buddha's teaching which is often described as a precious jewel.
Prayer wheels come in many forms and sizes, from small hand held ones which are turned as people walk to large wheels set in rivers and turned by the power of the water. Some Tibetan communities in the Western World make use of prayer wheels powered by electric motors. Turning the wheel releases the spiritual power contained in the texts and mantras and sends this throughout the world.