Nepal - Turning Buddhist Prayer Wheel in Bhaktapur Temple
A prayer wheel or Mani wheel (Tibetan: mani chos-'khor) is a cylindrical 'wheel' (Tibetan: 'khor) on a spindle made from metal, wood, stone, leather, or even coarse cotton. Traditionally, the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is written in Sanskrit externally on the wheel. Also sometimes depicted are Dakinis, Protectors and very often the 8 auspicious symbols Ashtamangala. According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, spinning such a wheel will have much the same meritorious effect as orally reciting the prayers.
The reason prayer wheels are used is to accumulate wisdom and merit or good karma and to purify negativities such as bad karma. The idea of spinning mantras comes from numerous Tantric practices where the Tantric practitioner visualizes mantras revolving around the nadis and especially around the meridian chakras such as the heart and crown. Therefore prayer wheels can be seen as an external visual aid for developing one's capacity for these types of Tantric visualizations.
I wanted to give this photo bit of motion and dynamism, therefore I've captured one prayer wheel in motion and one standing still.
PENTAX K20D, f/4, 0.05 sec (1/20), ISO 400, 10 mm
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