Tibetan Prayer Wheel – What’s That Text?

Tibetran Prayer Wheel.

Ever wondered what’s that text carved on a Tibetan Prayer Wheel and what does it mean?

It is…

Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ

Commonly known among the Tibetans as the Mani Mantra, and thereby, the wheels as Mani Wheels,  it is also found written on Tibetan Prayer Flags, carved/engraved on rocks (some found in the Zanskar Region of Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir), and jewellery.

While it is interpreted by different scholars in different ways, Tsangsar Tulku Rinpoche summed it up to perfection, dividing the mantra into six syllables, to symbolise purification of the six realms of existence.

Om – Perfecting ‘Generosity’ by purifying ‘Pride/Ego’ – Samsaric Realm of ‘Devas’
Ma – Perfecting ‘Ethics’ by purifying ‘Jealousy/Lust for entertainment’ – Samsaric Realm of ‘Asuras’
Ni – Perfecting ‘Patience’ by purifying ‘Passion/Desire’ – Samsaric Realm of ‘Humans’
Pad – Perfecting ‘Diligence’ by purifying ‘Ignorance/Prejudiced’ – Samsaric Realm of ‘Animals’
Me – Perfecting ‘Renunciation’ by purifying ‘Greed/Possessiveness’ – Samsaric Realm of ‘Pretas’
Hum – Perfecting ‘Wisdom’ by purifying ‘Aggression/Hatred’ – Samsaric Realm of ‘Naraka’

In the translation of a text by the Fourth Panchen Lama, Amitabha Buddha says “Anyone who recites the six syllables while turning the dharma wheel at the same time is equal in fortune to the Thousand Buddhas.” In the same text Shakyamuni Buddha says that “Turning the prayer wheel once is better than having done one, seven, or nine years of retreat.” The prayer wheel is a very powerful merit field; one accumulates extensive merit and purifies obstacles.

So, the next time you visit a Tibetan Monastery and see a Tibetan Prayer Wheel, you’ll see it in a different light. I know I will. Peace!

Tibetran Prayer Wheel.
Tibetan Prayer Wheels at Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim.

Published by

Mohit Behl

Photographer by day. Travel Writer by night. And a Copywriter in between.

Leave a Reply

Not tonight, love. I've got a headache.