While many have the impression that Buddhism is a religion not known for its icons and symbols, this is not an accurate assessment. There are many components to the worship of Buddhism that are integrated into its worship. One such item is that of the prayer wheel. The prayer flag in certain circles of Buddhism is the defining symbolic item that clearly displays a Buddhist place of worship or the home of a practitioner of Buddhism.
40 prayer wheels , 40 languages contained in the Dialogue Project for Global Peace, each one says, “Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. “
The following overview may provide some insight into these questions… Prayer wheels are commonly found in Tibet and are usually employed as a call to prayer in monasteries, at home and along the mountain passes.The wheels are symbolic of Buddhist worship. Prayer wheels represent both good luck and prosperity. With the integration of Buddhist worship in Tibetan society, the wheels began to be incorporated into the iconography of Buddhism.
Buddhist prayer wheels aid in integrating the natural world into the human conceptualization of Buddhism. Mantras are written on the wheels and are spun around at homes, temples and mountainsides. As they spin it is believed that the wind will ‘pick up’ the words on the wheel and spread them throughout the world. Wherever the wind blows, the words and sentiments of the mantras will be carried. Considering the positive nature of the mantras, this is a good thing because feelings of prosperity and enlightenment would be carried throughout the world. Or at least that is the prime intention.
Many purchase such wheels because they are outstanding decorations. Perhaps one of the best benefits of these wheels is that even if you only purchase them for decorative reasons, the mantra printed on them is still effectively carried with the wind. Consider that a ‘fringe benefit’ built into the designs of the faithful.
It is also wise to point out that the recipients of the benefits of a prayer wheels are not just those in far off lands where the wind blows the mantras, prayers, and invocations. The person that spins the wheel is said to be the recipient of good luck and other such positive results. This could be because the person spinning the wheel becomes a member of the perpetual cycle of promoting the true spirit of belief and enlightenment through the world.