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If you buy a wheel from the Internet or by mail, and find that there are no prayers inside, you can ask the vendor to supply them for you.If you already own a wheel that has no prayers, one of the Tibetan stores or Internet vendors can probably get a mantra roll for you if you tell them the size of your wheel case (height and diameter of cylinder).They can be found mounted in rows next to pathways, to be spun by people entering a shrine, or along the route which people use as they walk slowly around and around a sacred site -- a form of spiritual practice called circumambulation.Wheels are also placed where they can be spun by wind or by flowing water.Typically, larger decorative versions of the syllables of the mantra are also carved on the outside cover of the wheel.Viewing a written copy of the mantra is said to have the same effect -- and the mantra is carved into stones left in piles near paths where travelers will see them.Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of five days; when finished, the mandala is destroyed to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists.The colored sands will be swept up and half are shared with the students watching the ceremony and the other half are returned to the elements by pouring them into a nearby body of water where the waters carry the healing energies throughout the world.
The earliest known mention of prayer wheels is in an account written by a Chinese pilgrim, in 400 AD, while traveling through the area now known as Ladakh.
mantra of Chenrezig can create prayer wheels, of either the mechanical or the electronic type, with the prayers that mean the most to them -- and people who feel a connection to the modern ecumenical or "Great Awakening" movements can include prayers from many traditions, written in any number of languages. We also point out resources in books and on the Web, on Chenrezig and his mantra, and on the concept of compassion in Tibetan Buddhism, as well as one excellent new book devoted to the subject of prayer wheels.