PRAYER WHEEL : BRIEF INTRODUCTION
A prayer wheel is a cylindrical wheel (Tibetan: à½ à½à½¼à½¢à¼à½£à½¼à¼, Wylie: khor lo) on a spindle made from metal, wood, stone, leather or coarse cotton. Traditionally, the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is written in Newari language of Nepal, on the outside of the wheel. Also sometimes depicted are Dakinis, Protectors and very often the 8 auspicious symbols Ashtamangala. At the core of the cylinder is a "Life Tree" often made of wood or metal with certain mantras written on or wrapped around it. Many thousands (or in the case of larger prayer wheels, millions) of mantras are then wrapped around this life tree. The Mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is most commonly used, but other mantras may be used as well. According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition based on the lineage texts regarding prayer wheels, spinning such a wheel will have much the same meritorious effect as orally reciting the prayers.
The earliest recorded prayer wheels were written of by a Chinese pilgrim around 400 C.E. in Ladakh.prayer wheel is a physical manifestation of the phrase "turning the wheel of Dharma," which describes the way in which the Buddha taught. Prayer Wheels originated from âThe School of Shakyamuni sutra, volume 3 â pagoda and templeâ which states that, âthose who set up the place for worship, use the knowledge to propagate the dharma to common people, should there be any man or woman who are illiterate and unable to read the sutra, they should then set up the prayer wheel to facilitate those illiterate to chant the sutra, and the effect is the same as reading the sutraâ
According to the Tibetan tradition, the prayer wheel lineage traces back to the famous Indian master, Arya Nagarjuna. Tibetan texts also say that the practice was taught by the Indian Buddhist masters Tilopa and Naropa as well as the Tibetan masters Marpa and Milarepa.