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  • Writer's pictureMicha Strauss

what is a world peace prayer wheel and how it came to be

Updated: Mar 8

most Buddhist know what a prayer wheel is, after all, a prayer wheel comes form the Buddhist faith, but as prayer wheel makers who live in Israel we had many requests over the years for prayer wheels for other faiths.

not long after we started to craft Buddhist prayer wheels we were approached by one of our dear friends who asked us: "hey guys! love your craft and the concept of a prayer wheel! but i don't know Buddha. can you make me a Jewish prayer wheel?"

we were stopped in our tracks.

for us, being born in Israel and therefore labeled Jewish, we know that the Jewish folk do not look at other faiths with such a kind eye... so we were a bit overwhelmed by this question and did not know how to go about this request, but as good students we asked our teacher H.E. Garchen Rinpoche what does he think about this, and he was not late to reply:

"Of course it is OK to make a Jewish prayer wheel. Whatever you do that comes from a wish to help others is virtuous. When we pray for the happiness of others it is very powerful, when we pray for our own happiness, there is not much benefit. You should definitely also ask the Rabbi for permission and if it is OK with him then it is fine. When spinning the prayer wheel it is important to be mindful because virtue comes from the mind. Everything we do with conscientiousness becomes virtuous."

we were so overjoyed with Rinpoche's answer!

of course, the next thing to do was to talk to a Rabbi. we know several and we approached them all with this question.

to our surprise they all said yes! not even a single one said no!

they did have some advice to give like the need for repetition, in the Jewish prayer wheels there is no need for that. once is enough.

so we talked to a very good friend of ours who has a publication and he is very knowlagable in the Kabbala and he printed for us the Jewish prayers we put in our Jewish prayer wheels we make.

this of course took us 3 years because we were not very comfortable with this yet.

but, after 3 years of asking Rabbis and just regular Jewish folk what they think about this, we realized that we were the ones who are holding this idea back from being.

so, we made our first Jewish prayer wheel and offered it to a friend, he absolutely loved it!

that was our sign that we can now do this ;-)

not long after that a group that were touring the Kibbutz found their way to our studio and were amazed that such a place is in Israel and on a Kibbutz! they were American and asked us about a Christian prayer wheel?

that sent us on a mission to talk to priests and ask what they think about this idea and what prayer should be in a Christian prayer wheel?

we took a drive to the Church of the Transfiguration which is not so far from where we live and talked to a priest there. he was overjoyed by the idea and told us that the best prayer to be inside a Christian prayer wheel should be "the Lord's prayer" and that we should go to Jerusalem and go to the Church of the Pater Noster and collect this prayer in Aramaic script which was the language spoken by Christ.

and so we did!

and that is the prayer in our Christian prayer wheels.

we have a very good friend for many years who is the Sheik of a small village not far from us. we have been friends for over 25 years and go to visit him often.

one day he asked us: "why wont you make me a Muslim prayer wheel?"

we asked him what would be the most appropriate prayer to be placed in such a prayer wheel and he said the Surah Al Fatiha would be the best! he then explained to us what it means and we asked him to write it in his own hand writing and so he did and that is the prayer we put in our Muslim prayer wheels.

peace prayer wheel me and the Sheikh
me and the Sheikh talking about the world peace prayer wheel

one day, a very good friend of ours came to visit us in the studio and as we were drinking tea and talking about life and prayer wheels he said: "I would like you to make me a world peace prayer wheel. one that contains ALL the prayers and mantras you have collected so far"


that blew our minds.

we have been making prayer wheels for different faiths but never ever did we think about putting all those prayers and mantras in one prayer wheel! that was just a stoke of genius!

of course we did so and made him the prayer wheel he requested. we were lucky enough to have Chamtrul Rinpoche visit Israel at that time and asked him to come and bless the prayer wheel and he did!

Chamtrul Rinpoche and the peace prayer wheel
Chamtrul Rinpoche blessing the world peace prayer wheel

now we had a new amazing thing called a world peace prayer wheel! we were overjoyed!

Karma being how it is, we had the fortune to have H.E. Garchen Rinpoche visit Israel on October of 2018 to give teachings and that was not so long after we had this world peace prayer wheel (the handheld version) made. at that time both me and Ayelet had them and attended the teachings with them.

we asked for a privet session with Rinpoche to talk about this new prayer wheel we have made and to offer one to Rinpoche if he likes to have one.

Rinpoche was very happy to hear about this prayer wheel and accepted our offering. he took my prayer wheel because it was made for my big hands and it fitted his hand too :-)

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche world peace prayer wheel
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche spinnning his new world peace prayer wheel

the teachings were over and Rinpoche went back to Arizona to his Garchen Buddhist Institute to host the yearly Vajrakilaya Drubchen and we were invited to come! we were overjoyed and went of course.

there, while the Drubchen was in full sway we met a lovely woman who was teaching meditation to prisoners and she loved the world peace prayer wheel and asked us: "now that you are here, why don't you go and find some Native American prayers to put in your world peace prayer wheel? i would love to have one"

oh wow...

that sent us on a mission!

and, Karma being as it is, we found our way to a man who lived with the Lakota people for over 30 years (his story is just mind blowing but i fear that it would be too long to write here) and he heard our idea of a world peace prayer wheel and our request was answered. he then taught us how to make Wapaktas (prayer knots) because the Lakota people had no written language.

we then added these prayer knots inside our world peace prayer wheels.

a year later, in 2019 we wanted to attend the Vajrakilaya Drubchen again and about 6 months prior to that we got an email from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche asking us to send over all the prayers we have collected from all the different faiths. Rinpoche was constructing a world peace prayer wheel on the Garchen Buddhist Institute. we felt like we have made a change in this world for the better! if Rinpoche wants to build one of his own? we must have done something right!

when we came to the Drubchen, that prayer wheel was already made and ready to spin!

world peace prayer wheel Garchen Buddhist Instittute
the world peace prayer wheel H.E. Garchen Rinpoche built at the GBI center in Arizona

Rinpoche had a Hopi man come to do a ceremony from the Hopi tribe not far from the Institute and it was a very powerful ceremony. i cried a lot (not a crying man usually)

as we were all gathered around them, they each did their thing. Rinpoche in Tibetan and the Hopi man in Hopi language and dancing.

once the ceremony ended, the Hopi man turned to me standing in the crowd and said: "Israel! come here!"

i walked over with tears and he sat me down with 3 other people in a circle while all others were standing over us. he then took out a peace pipe and we did a ceremony of our own.

i cried some more and we hugged for a while.

once the Drubchen was over we asked the Hopi man if we can come and collect a prayer from the Hopi tribe? he said come over and talk to an elder and tell him what this prayer is for and see if he would be interested. we agreed and drove over to the Hopi reservation to meet him and the elder.

we sat for a few hours talking and sharing our desire to add a Hopi prayer to our world peace prayer wheel and what is a world peace prayer wheel. the elder decided to grant our wish and had a prayer written in Hopi language for us to add to our world peace prayer wheels!

peace prayer wheel talking with Hopi elder
Ayelet and me with the elder at the Hopi reservation talking about the world peace prayer wheel

later on Ayelet made a globe and it turned into our most desired world peace prayer wheel!

we offered it to Rinpoche and he loved it!

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche globe world peace prayer wheel
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche and his globe world peace prayer wheel

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche and his globe world peace prayer wheel
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche and his globe world peace prayer wheel

and that is how the World Peace Prayer Wheel was born!

may there be peace on earth!

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