This is a Tibetan Prayer Wheel, also known as Mani Wheels by the Tibetans. It is made of a metal cylindrical body, mounted in a wooden handle. The cylinder is embossed with the well-known Buddhist mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum“. The top of the cylinder is adorned with the Wheel of Life, the center of which has a handle to help keep the wheel turning with a slight rotation of the wrist.
The top of the wheel is removable to reveal a mantra roll in the protective case. The mantra is a tightly wound scroll made of thin paper, printed with many copies of the prayer “Om Mani Padme Hum” the invocation for unlimited compassion. Buddhists believe that each turn of the cylinder generates as much merit as reciting the mantras out loud. Quoting Lama Zopa, Rinpoche: “Just touching and turning a prayer wheel brings incredible purification and accumulates unbelievable merit.”
Found all over Tibet and in areas influenced by Tibetan culture, the use of a Tibetan Prayer Wheel is an ancient and mystical practice that has long been popular with Buddhists in these areas for its ability to bless the environment, spread spiritual blessings and well being, transform bad luck to good luck, promote healing, increase compassion, and assist practitioners on their journeys to enlightenment.
OM MANI PADME HUM is probably the most famous mantra in Buddhism. It is the six syllabled mantras of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan Chenrezig, Chinese Guanyin). The mantra is easy to recite yet powerful because it contains the essence of the entire teachings of Buddha. It has the power to bless the heart and mind of any who come into contact with it. Its special benefit is to uncover and foster the compassion innate in all beings, developing positive qualities and so, happiness naturally increases in one’s life.
Tibetan OM MANI PADME HUM Script
It is also mentioned in the tantras that by reciting this mantra you achieve the four qualities of being born in the Amitabha Buddha pure land and other pure lands; at the time of death, seeing Buddha and lights appearing in the sky; the devas making you offerings; and never be reborn in the hell, hungry ghost or animals realms. You will be reborn in the pure land of Buddha or as a happy transmigratory being.