Posted by: rbbadger | July 12, 2009

Prayer wheel

If you’ve ever seen documentaries on Tibet, you might have noticed people spinning these huge wheels.  The spinning of the wheels is part of the devotions of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, known in Tibetan as Chenrezig, in Chinese as Guan Yin and in Korean as Gwan Eum.  On the wheel is inscribed the matra “On mani padme hum”.  Seeing as the famous Lama Temple in Beijing is a Tibetan lamasery, it is not surprising to encounter one of these here.


The Chinese government keeps very tight control over the Tibetan Buddhists, possibly even tighter than the control they keep over Chinese Roman Catholic bishops.  China insists that Tibet is historically Chinese territory.  The fear is that the Tibetans will seek independence.  Tibetan Buddhists do believe that certain of the lamas are reincarnations of previous lamas.  Some of them, such as the Dalai Lama (in exile since 1959) or the Panchen Lama are very prominent.  Under Chinese law, the lamas are not to reincarnate outside of Chinese territory.  The government now takes a very active role in deciding who the reincarantions are.  Thus, there are two Panchen Lamas, one government-approved and other having gone missing since a rival faction declared him the true successors.



  1. That’s funny that they think they can demand that people not reincarnate outside of China. How do they intend to enforce that? Ha, ha.

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