Vijrayana Tibetan Hymns, Wheels, and Mantras



Rin gong at Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto Small Singing Bowl

Tibetan Singing Bowls help in meditation and prayer, creating a complex cord of harmonic overtones and a continuous "singing" sound.  Also mark passage of time or change in activity.  Used throughout Tibet, Nepal and India, as well as China, Japan and Korea. 

example of overtones

Tibetan monks - Boudhanath, Nepal 1973


Sound of the conch shell for remembering the dead (2 min.)

Invocation of Deities (16 min.)

Auspicious Verses of Guru Puja (8 min.)

Hymns and music for Inviting Deities (2 min.)

The Vase Initiation of Yamantaka (2 min.)

Dissolving the Visualization of the Field of Merit (10 min.)

(from the monks of the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery, Dharamsala, recorded 1989 on Sacred Ceremonies vol.2)


Shakyamuni Buddha at the monastery of Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, Dharamsala.

Prayer Wheels outside a monastery, Dharamsala

When the Dalai Lama left Tibet in 1960, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru offered to permit him and his followers to establish a "government-in-exile" in Dharamsala, northern India.  Since then, many Tibetan exiles have settled in the town, numbering several thousand.  Most of these exiles live in Upper Dharamsala, or McLeod Ganj, where they established monasteries, temples and schools.


Pilgrim with prayer wheel, Tsurphu Gompa, Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, 1993.


An exclusively Tibetan Buddhist prayer instrument, the Mani prayer wheel can be made of various materials, including metal, wood, leather, or even coarse cotton, and come in many different sizes, from a hand-held mani prayer wheels, often used by pilgrims, to a series of large stationary metal wheels situated along a wall of a monastery.  There are also "digital prayer wheels," which send a peace prayer from one's hard drive!  Regardless of size and material, their function remains the same, that of prayer, a conduit to the spiritual.  

 Each mani wheel bears a mantra or divine prayer, as an inscription on its outer surface, as well as printed on paper thousands of times inside the wheel.  The most basic mantra is the Aum (Om).  On prayer wheels, the most commonly used mantra is Om Mani Padme Hum.  It is the mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokitesvara (India) or Chenrezig (Tibet), which the Dalai Lama is also said to be an incarnation.  Voicing the mantra from left to right would be: ohm mah nee padh may hum.  The meaning of the six-syllable mantra is complex, but includes: om - a mediation on bliss;  ma - patience; ni - discipline;  pad  - wisdom; me - generosity; and hum - diligence.  The middle of the mantra, mani padme, is interpreted to mean the "jewel in the lotus."   When activated, the mantra is a prayer that invites the compassion of Chenrezig.  

For the prayer to be most effective, a person must first speak the mantra aloud, then in a calm meditative state without speaking, spun the wheel clockwise, the direction the mantra is written, and then finish by once again by speaking the mantra aloud. The faster the spinning of the wheel, the more potent the prayer.

The Om Mani Padme Hum mantra in Tibetan Script. "Om Mani Padme Hum" written in Tibetan script on a rock outside the Potala Palace in Tibet.





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