Wheel of Great Compassion is the first book to provide Western readers with a complete understanding of the prayer wheel – an ancient and mystical practice that has long been popular with Buddhists throughout Tibet and Mongolia for its ability to bless the environment, promote healing, increase compassion, and assist practitioners on their spiritual journeys. This book offers a clear description of prayer wheel practice, its meaning and benefits, and its role as an essential ritual and symbol of Tibetan Buddhism. It contains a general introduction to the prayer wheel, photographs and illustrations, six commentaries by Tibetan lamas (including Lama Zopa Rinpoche), and instructions for both prayer wheel construction and proper use.
Motion has long played a significant role in religion. In Buddhism one finds full-body prostrations, ritual hand movements known as mudra, and circumambulations of shrines. Less known is the practice of prayer wheels. It involves recitation of – typically – the mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum" while visualizing the light of the thousands of mantras written on reels of paper (or, increasingly, microfilm) reaching out to beings in every state of existence.
Wheel of Great Compassion includes the author's own research and thoughts on the practice as well as classic instructions from the pens of eminent Tibetan divines. The book also includes a description of the physical mechanics of the prayer wheel and some thoughts as to how one might make one's own. It concludes with a sadhanaa liturgy including visualization – providing the reader a relatively complete and straightforward way of emptying oneself in service to others.