Prayer Wheel House
At the age of eleven, news of his mother’s death reached the young Chagdud Tulku in retreat. Soon afterward, he declared that his mother’s assets were to be sold off and the proceeds used to construct an enormous prayer wheel containing 10 million Vajrasattva mantras. It was a costly and ambitious undertaking. Progress was slow, but two years later the work was completed and the wheel consecrated.
Rinpoche compared the reverberation of the spinning mantras inside the prayer wheel house to an actual experience of Vajrasattva’s Pervasive Purification: “This fulfilled my mother’s intention that all persons who came there and prayed with faith would be cleansed of the obscuring habits and poisons of the mind, and that by the blessings of Vajrasattva’s Compassion and wisdom, all would come to abide in the intrinsic purity of their mind’s absolute nature.”
Constructed in 2007 by Rigdzin Ling staff and volunteers— this huge, profoundly significant project was a collaboration between Rigdzin Ling and Iron Knot Ranch, which culminated in the installation of thirty-two giant prayer wheels (fifteen at Rigdzin Ling, seventeen at Iron Knot Ranch), each containing mantras printed on paper rolls and imaged onto microfilm.
The primary mantra of the prayer wheel project is the Vajra Guru, with more than 5 billion mantras printed on paper and 97 billion on microfilm. One-third of the paper and film is covered with the longevity mantras of Amitabha, Amitayus, and Chenrezig.
The mantras of 11 other deities are included in the wheels. Nine of the mantras are duplicated from the mantras in the 40 prayer wheels that Chagdud Rinpoche created at Khadro Ling: those of Dorjé Drolö, Amitabha, Chenrezik, Amitayus, Vajrakilaya, Vajrasattva, Hayagriva, Kurukulle, and the Lion-Faced Dakini. The wheels at Rigdzin Ling and Iron Knot Ranch also include Longchenpa and Green Tara mantras, as well as the Red Tara mantra in its hand turned wheels.
Each of the hundred-plus rolls of nearly translucent paper is 3 feet wide and approximately 25 miles long. Totaling 2,600 miles of paper in all. The ink itself has been consecrated by sacred substances, some containing minute quantities of past masters’ relics.In addition to the mantras printed on paper, the wheels contain more than 200 miles of microfiche. To the naked eye, microfiche appears to be an opaque film, but with magnification, impossibly tiny and confoundingly numerous syllables are visible.