Also known as “Mani Wheels” by the Tibetans and Buddhists worldwide, prayer wheels are spiritual devices for widely distributing blessings and positive wishes for all beings.
Padmasambhava or “Guru Rinpoche” as he is so often called, says that using a prayer wheel brings great blessings, and creates enormous and powerful karma.
Many lamas, monks and lay practitioners use the prayer wheel daily as an adjunct to using a mala. The reason is simply because the thousands of prayers written inside the prayer wheel exponentially increase the blessings.
Hand-held prayer wheels are spun clockwise with one hand using a hula-hoop motion with the wrist and forearm. Generally, they are constructed of a cylindrical body of metal (sometimes of wood), penetrated along its axis by a metal axle mounted in a wooden or metal handle.
Inside all prayer wheels are hand-written scrolls of all the complete mantras. The cylinder, along with the mantra roll it contains, can be kept turning with a slight rotation of the wrist, thanks to a weighted cord or chain.
The cord and chain are a key element, adding enough weight to make the rotation smooth and easy. When turning the wheel clockwise you are activating the prayer and generating positive karma.