Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Springtime in the mountains

We've been visiting a friend who lives in the mountains, not too far from Redding, California.

While we were there, she took us to a lovely nearby Buddhist temple (if I'm understanding correctly, it's one based in Tibetan tradition). Some of the statues and buildings were under construction for restoration, but the part that fascinated me the most was the 'powered' prayer wheels.

Being from a background of Roman Catholicism, I'd always understood prayer wheels as something like rosaries (those beads that are used to 'count' your prayers), but different in that you twirled them.

The Buddhists here in California have taken their prayer wheels to a new, high-tech level. The prayer scrolls inside are usually on paper -- as in the smaller, hand-spun ones, toward the bottom in the video below. But the large decorated wheels contain prayers on microfiche, so they hold (and offer) many more prayers than the smaller ones. And these large ones are powered by electricity, so except in case of a power failure, they're always turning out prayers on our behalf.

As with so many places I've visited, I've learned a lot at this spot. Still, just when you think it's springtime, look what happens.

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