Prayer Wheels and their Purpose

A prayer wheel is a cylindrical device that is commonly used in Tibetan Buddhist traditions to amplify prayers and mantras. It is designed with a metal or wooden cylinder mounted on a handle, with a tightly wound scroll containing written prayers or mantras placed within. In recent years, the scrolls inside have been replaced with microfilm that contains millions of mantras. The traditional bulky prayer wheels have been improved with ball bearings and lighter materials to create more powerful prayer wheels that spin with as little or with no effort at all.

When the prayer wheel is rotated, it causes the scroll/microfilm inside to also rotate, thus simulating the act of verbally reciting the prayers or mantras written inside.


Lama Zopa Rinpoche mentions:

“Just touching and turning a prayer wheel brings incredible purification and accumulates unbelievable merit…Turning the prayer wheel once is the same as having done many years of retreat.”

“If someone with AIDS, cancer or some other disease meditated like this and every day, for as many hours as possible, there would definitely be some effect. I know quite a few people who have completely recovered from terminal cancer through meditation. Even though the person might not know about Dharma, about reincarnation or karma; because they want to have peace of mind now and a peaceful death; because they care about having a healthy body and a healthy mind, they should use this extremely powerful and meaningful method of healing.”

H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya explains:

“Use of the prayer wheel is one of the easiest ways to purify past negative karma, nonvirtuous actions, defilements, and obstacles that prevent us from realizing our true self and understanding the true nature of reality. Buddha said, “One benefit is that the karma and disturbing thought obscurations that have been accumulated for beginningless rebirths are purified without effort.”

“The primary goal of traditional Tibetan prayer wheel practice is to relieve the miseries of all beings.”


How to practice?

  • Reciting Om Mani Padme Hum while spinning the prayer wheel. This strengthens our mind and brings the optimal intention to the spiritual practice and increases the benefits to all sentient beings.
  • Focusing your thoughts on loving-kindness, equanimity, and the benefit of others, not oneself.
  • Visualizing beams of light, bright like the sun, radiating out from the prayer wheel in all directions. The light beams destroy the negative karma and sufferings of not just humans, but all beings, including animals, hungry ghosts, hell beings, demigods and gods. All the negativity is absorbed into the prayer wheel and destroyed.
  • Focusing on a problem, like a war or tragedy, and spinning the prayer wheel to try and relieve the suffering of the people being harmed and hurt.
  • Dedicating the merit of one’s prayer wheel practice to purify the underlying cause of someone’s illness in order to promote healing.

Hand prayer wheels practice is convenient and suitable for everyone. Be mindful and spin to spread the merits. Prayer wheels make great gifts too. Click here to shop now.


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