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The Tibetan prayer wheel or Mani wheel in Tibetan or commonly called dharma wheel, symbolises the Wheel of Buddhist Law, the endless cycle of birth and rebirth and is one of the oldest symbols of Buddhism. Around the world it is used to represent Buddhism in the same way that a cross represents Christianity and turning the dharma wheel is a metaphor for the Buddha's teaching of the dharma in the world. A prayer wheel is of a hollow metal cylinder, often beautifully embossed, mounted on a rod handle and containing a tightly wound scroll printed with a mantra. According the Tibetan Buddhist belief, spinning such a wheel is just as effective as reciting them orally.

This was taken in one of the many impressively adorned and colorfully painted Gompas or Monastery in Buddhanath. A pilgrim discharging her religious duty by spinning the hugh wheel clockwise and reciting prayers & mantra, sending compassion and healing in all directions as it is turned

Mani wheels are found all over Tibet and in areas influenced by Tibetan culture such as here in Nepal. There are many types of Mani wheels, but small hand-held wheels are the most common by far. Tibetan people carry them around even on long pilgrimages, spinning them any time they have a hand free.

Additional pictures:
Workshop1: Hand-held prayer wheel in action
Workshop2: Hand held prayer wheels on sale

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Additional Photos by abmdsudi abmdsudi (abmdsudi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4136 W: 141 N: 9534] (41266)
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