Prayerwheels do they work?

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Prayerwheels do they work?

Postby AlexanderS » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:12 pm

If prayerwheels work, and if my practice was a simply reciting 'Om mani peme hung' then would't spinning a prayerwheel with 100 million mani mantras make progress erm, slightly faster?
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Re: Prayerwheels do they work?

Postby Caz » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:16 pm

Depends what your mind is doing. Anyone can spin prayer wheels around and recite Mantras but what is your mind actually doing during this time ? Thats the real question as to whether or not they work. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Prayerwheels do they work?

Postby gad rgyangs » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:06 pm

here's a story I wrote some time ago when this question came up on esangha:

When Tashi was a child, a neighbor gave him a prayer wheel and told
him that turning it would bring great merit and blessings. As Tashi
grew up, he became more and more fond of turning his prayer wheel
while circumambulating the Jokhang along the Barkhor route. As he
became an old man, he spent even more time doing this, and his heart
brimmed with the knowledge that his actions were benefiting not only
he, but all sentient beings.

Eventually Tashi became a very old man. One night he was sitting in
his room as he often did now, turning his prayer wheel, feeling very
happy. Suddenly it was the end of his life-span and his body slumped
over onto the floor. His consciousness traveled to Tushita heaven
where he met many devotees and Bodhisattvas who praised his devotion
and his dedication to prayer, mantra recitation and turning his prayer
wheel. Tashi was indeed very blessed.

Back in his old room, his grandson had opened the door to bring him
some tea, and found Tashi's body on the floor. Beside him, his prayer
wheel had fallen and the top had come off. Tashi's grandson picked it
up and looked inside- it was empty.

*****

Many years before, when Tashi was only a small child, his family had a
neighbor called Lobsang. Lobsang had long been secretly in love with
Tashi's mother, Deki, and one Losar, after too much chang, he had
tried to kiss her in one of the narrow streets behind the Jokhang.
Deki had slapped him, and, with great embarrassment, he had fled to
his house, where he wept with shame. Over time, that shame had turned
to anger and resentment, and in his spitefulness he had removed the
prayers from a prayer wheel and given it to Tashi as a way of getting
back at Deki for her rejection. He would laugh inside with a sick
satisfaction each time he saw Tashi with the empty prayer wheel,
thinking that the boy was wasting his time, and then thinking of Deki
with a confused smear of emotions ranging from desire to hatred. And
so the years passed.

One day Lobsang awoke with a strange feeling in his head, his eyes
were blurry and yet things seems strangely intense and vividly
present. He fell back into bed and then felt himself in a swirl of
powerful currents of energy. Suddenly, he began to see a figure
approaching him out of the mist, and before long he realized, to his
horror, who it was. There is no mistaking Mahakala when he comes to
you, and in that situation there is nothing you can do but hold on for
dear life and hope for the best. In that moment, Lobsang was very
lucky in that Mahakala merely roared in his face and then disappeared
as suddenly as he had come. Lobsang jumped out of bed and threw the
shutters open in his window, hoping that daylight would return him to
his normal state of mind. As he looked out the window, he saw Tashi,
now a young man, sitting against the wall, turning his prayer wheel as
he often did. This time, however, instead of feeling his usual smirk
of revenge, Lobsang was left speechless by what he saw. Around Tashi
was a cloud of Dakinis who were bathing in the prayers that arose, not
from the prayer wheel, but from Tashi's heart center, in an
uninterrupted stream of multicolored light of a beauty that was beyond
imagining. Lobsang at that moment realized that his plan of revenge
had not succeeded and instead had had the opposite effect in inspiring
Tashi's devotion with results that were now clearly apparent. He sank
to the floor and wept in sorrow at his ugly actions and feelings, and
at that moment he started to rise up, intending to run outside and
confess his secret to Tashi, then run to the Barkhor to buy him the
most expensive prayer wheel he could find as a way of making amends.
As he rose however, the electric surge again engulfed him and Mahakala
loomed in his face. This time the terrible protector spoke to him like
thunder, "Do not reveal your secret. You must carry it in your heart
as a heavy burden, for Tashi's devotion must be left undisturbed."
Lobsang again sank to the floor and wept, knowing that there was now
nothing he could do after what Mahakala had said to him. And indeed,
he did carry his secret with him until his death some years later, but
in the meantime his heart had been cleansed of jealousy and hatred and
he too became a fervent pilgrim who, as a kind of penance, carried
with him at all times an empty prayer wheel which he never tired of
spinning.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: Prayerwheels do they work?

Postby duckfiasco » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:36 pm

I'm still a relatively new practitioner, so please bear that in mind as I ramble at you :D

I think like Caz said, it's not so much the prayer wheel or any prayer itself that will "work". Attachment to the supposed efficacy of rituals is even one of the ten fetters, right up there with attachment to self. That's the belief that somehow doing something external will lead to internal liberation. If your mind isn't in the right place, saying each prayer with full mindfulness of its meaning and that you might die before you finish the next repetition, then you might as well be saying "om mani sandwich hum" :)

It's similar to the idea that renunciation means making your outward life look a certain way, like living in a monastery with no worldly possessions. It's when we take something "out there" and not only invent an idea relative to that thing, but then identify ourselves with that idea, that suffering gets a subtle foothold... In this case, you may feel suffering because you've taken a prayer wheel (which is empty), prayers (which are also empty), and made a bridge between them and your view of yourself (also empty). That is, you've made expectations :) None of these things has inherent existence or value, and it's all a bit vague and unstable, isn't it? Of course you're disappointed! Who wouldn't be? No matter how hard we squeeze smoke, we can't make it solid.

So relating to that, if you're feeling bored while doing your prayer wheel, thinking, "I hope this does X, Y, and Z for me," really stop and ask yourself, "Who benefits from this? Who is holding the prayer wheel? Where do these words come from and where do they go?" It's easy to turn spiritual practice into a self-improvement project. Stop looking outward, stop seeking progress, stop having high expectations... Those are all currency of a permanent self that constantly tries to trumpet its own importance and existence.

Try using the prayers to create a state of mind. Use them to look precisely where our neuroses and self and cherished beliefs really, really don't want you to look: straight at them and right through them.

I hope this isn't too off base, and I hope more experienced people will correct me where I'm mistaken. Good luck with your practice!! :cheers:
Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Prayerwheels do they work?

Postby muni » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:25 am

gad rgyangs wrote:here's a story I wrote some time ago when this question came up on esangha:

When Tashi was a child, a neighbor gave him a prayer wheel and told
him that turning it would bring great merit and blessings. As Tashi
grew up, he became more and more fond of turning his prayer wheel
while circumambulating the Jokhang along the Barkhor route. As he
became an old man, he spent even more time doing this, and his heart
brimmed with the knowledge that his actions were benefiting not only
he, but all sentient beings.

Eventually Tashi became a very old man. One night he was sitting in
his room as he often did now, turning his prayer wheel, feeling very
happy. Suddenly it was the end of his life-span and his body slumped
over onto the floor. His consciousness traveled to Tushita heaven
where he met many devotees and Bodhisattvas who praised his devotion
and his dedication to prayer, mantra recitation and turning his prayer
wheel. Tashi was indeed very blessed.

Back in his old room, his grandson had opened the door to bring him
some tea, and found Tashi's body on the floor. Beside him, his prayer
wheel had fallen and the top had come off. Tashi's grandson picked it
up and looked inside- it was empty.

*****

Many years before, when Tashi was only a small child, his family had a
neighbor called Lobsang. Lobsang had long been secretly in love with
Tashi's mother, Deki, and one Losar, after too much chang, he had
tried to kiss her in one of the narrow streets behind the Jokhang.
Deki had slapped him, and, with great embarrassment, he had fled to
his house, where he wept with shame. Over time, that shame had turned
to anger and resentment, and in his spitefulness he had removed the
prayers from a prayer wheel and given it to Tashi as a way of getting
back at Deki for her rejection. He would laugh inside with a sick
satisfaction each time he saw Tashi with the empty prayer wheel,
thinking that the boy was wasting his time, and then thinking of Deki
with a confused smear of emotions ranging from desire to hatred. And
so the years passed.

One day Lobsang awoke with a strange feeling in his head, his eyes
were blurry and yet things seems strangely intense and vividly
present. He fell back into bed and then felt himself in a swirl of
powerful currents of energy. Suddenly, he began to see a figure
approaching him out of the mist, and before long he realized, to his
horror, who it was. There is no mistaking Mahakala when he comes to
you, and in that situation there is nothing you can do but hold on for
dear life and hope for the best. In that moment, Lobsang was very
lucky in that Mahakala merely roared in his face and then disappeared
as suddenly as he had come. Lobsang jumped out of bed and threw the
shutters open in his window, hoping that daylight would return him to
his normal state of mind. As he looked out the window, he saw Tashi,
now a young man, sitting against the wall, turning his prayer wheel as
he often did. This time, however, instead of feeling his usual smirk
of revenge, Lobsang was left speechless by what he saw. Around Tashi
was a cloud of Dakinis who were bathing in the prayers that arose, not
from the prayer wheel, but from Tashi's heart center, in an
uninterrupted stream of multicolored light of a beauty that was beyond
imagining. Lobsang at that moment realized that his plan of revenge
had not succeeded and instead had had the opposite effect in inspiring
Tashi's devotion with results that were now clearly apparent. He sank
to the floor and wept in sorrow at his ugly actions and feelings, and
at that moment he started to rise up, intending to run outside and
confess his secret to Tashi, then run to the Barkhor to buy him the
most expensive prayer wheel he could find as a way of making amends.
As he rose however, the electric surge again engulfed him and Mahakala
loomed in his face. This time the terrible protector spoke to him like
thunder, "Do not reveal your secret. You must carry it in your heart
as a heavy burden, for Tashi's devotion must be left undisturbed."
Lobsang again sank to the floor and wept, knowing that there was now
nothing he could do after what Mahakala had said to him. And indeed,
he did carry his secret with him until his death some years later, but
in the meantime his heart had been cleansed of jealousy and hatred and
he too became a fervent pilgrim who, as a kind of penance, carried
with him at all times an empty prayer wheel which he never tired of
spinning.


Thank you for the kindness for sharing this. :anjali:
Like Caz said as well.
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Re: Prayerwheels do they work?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:56 am

Excellent story gad rgyangs! :twothumbsup: Thank you very much for sharing that!
:namaste:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
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Re: Prayerwheels do they work?

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:29 pm

Wonderful stories, thank you for sharing them here.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Prayerwheels do they work?

Postby AlexanderS » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:01 am

Is there any way we can lure Namdrol to comment on the effects of prayerwheels?
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Re: Prayerwheels do they work?

Postby Simurgh » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:01 am

Thank you for the wonderful stories! :namaste:
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