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The following Tibetan lunar calendar is courtesy of the Liberation Prison Project.

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Dharma Practice Dates

2014 Year of the Wood Horse 2141

Prepared by Nawang Thartho, based on Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute’s calendar. Additional advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of FPMT, and Geshe Nawang Dakpa, astrologer lama of FPMT’s Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco.

We have marked days* that are auspicious and inauspicious for various activities, and days that are favorable and unfavorable according to the combination of elements: earth, air, fire and water. These combinations impact on the effectiveness of one’s activities as well as one’s health.

As always, many Tibetan days are either missed or repeated.


Prepared by Nawang Thartho, based on Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute’s calendar. Additional advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of FPMT, and Geshe Nawang Dakpa, astrologer lama of FPMT’s Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco.

We have marked days that are auspicious* and inauspicious for various activities, and days that are favorable and unfavorable according to the combination of elements: earth, air, fire and water. These combinations impact on the effectiveness of one’s activities as well as one’s health.

The Favorable Days are listed below in order of most favorable to least favorable; and the unfavorable days in order of least unfavorable to most unfavorable.

There are also categories called Unfavorable Days and Very Unfavorable Days, which sometimes fall on one of the favorable element days. Note that the influence of the energy of these unfavorable days is more powerful.

As always, many Tibetan days are either missed or repeated.




Karmic results are multiplied by one hundred million, as cited by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in the Vinaya text Treasure of Quotations and Logic.

  • Days 1—15 of Month 1: Lord Buddha performed many miracles; the 15th is Day of Miracles.
  • Day 15 of Month 4: Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana (Or, according to Geshe Dakpa et al, only the latter two).
  • Day 4 of Month 6: Lord Buddha’s first teaching.
  • Day 22 of Month 9: Lord Buddha’s actual descent from God Realm of Thirty- three.


Karmic results are multiplied by one hundred million on solar eclipses and seven million on lunar.


Rinpoche recommends taking these 24-hour vows on days on which the karmic effects of positive actions are multiplied:

  • Buddha days (see above)
  • Days 8, 15 (full moon) and 30 (new Moon) of every Tibetan month
  • Eclipses (see above)


Less powerful than UD, VUD
Most auspicious. Earth-earth combination can bring success, fulfilling all wishes. Excellent for starting activities, especially construction.


Less powerful than UD, VUD
Very auspicious. Water-water combination can bring strength and vitality. Excellent for weddings, long-life rituals, increasing activities.


Less powerful than UD, VUD
Very auspicious. Earth-water combination can bring peace and happiness. Excellent for joyful events such as weddings, promotions.


Less powerful than UD, VUD
Auspicious. Fire-fire combination can increase wealth and property, Very good for wealth rituals and activities that provide material support.


Less powerful than UD, VUD
Auspicious. Air-air combination con bring successful, swift completion to projects or activities. Very good for starting a spiritual practice or a journey.


Less powerful than UD, VUD
Auspicious. Fire-air combination can strengthen auspicious activities. Good for hanging prayer flags (except on NPE days) and spiritual practice.


Many days every month are good for fire pujas, required for those who have completed certain tantric retreats. Doing them “on the wrong days can cause sickness and obstacles,” according to Rinpoche.

FULL MOON – Fpl Moon

  • 15th of Tibetan month; good for practice.


  • 8th or 15th of every Tibetan month; recommended by Rinpoche.


One or more days in most months are good for naga pujas.

NEW MOON – New Moon

  • 30th of Tibetan month; good for practice.


Good for hanging prayer flags.


Good for spiritual practice.


  • 29th of every Tibetan month.


Confession ceremony of monks and nuns usually falls at middle and end of every Tibetan month.


  • 8th of every Tibetan month; recommended by Rinpoche.


  • 10th and 25th of every Tibetan month; according to Rinpoche, “Those who have received an initiation into Highest Yoga Tantra have a commitment to perform tsog” on these days.




  • Days 2, 12, 22 of every Tibetan month.


  • Days 10, 20, 30 of every Tibetan month; not good for community events, such as at one’s Dharma center.


  • Days 8, 18, 28 of every Tibetan month.


  • Days 1, 11, 21 of every Tibetan month.


  • Days 6, 16, 26 of every Tibetan month.


  • Days 1, 2, 6, 7, 12, 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30 of every Tibetan month.


  • Days 4, 8, 11, 15, 18,22,25,29 of every Tibetan month.


  • Days 9, 19, 29 of every Tibetan month.


According to Rinpoche, by hanging prayer flags including long prayer flags and banners) on the wrong dates, “you will continuously receive obstacles.”

  • Days 10, 22 of Months 1, 5, 9
  • Days 7, 19 of Months 2, 6, 10
  • Days 4, 16, 28 of Months 3, 7, 11
  • Days 1, 13, 25 of Months 4, 8, 12



  • Days 7, 17, 27 of every Tibetan month.



More powerful than FD
Not good for starting important activities.


Inauspicious. Earth-air combination can decline wealth and property, and negative activities may be strengthened. Not good for starting medical procedures or important activities.


Inauspicious. Water-air combination can harm or sever relationships. Not good for starting medical procedures or important activities; risk of disagreements and disharmony.


Inauspicious. Earth-fire combination can cause suffering and the risk of burns. Not good for starting medical procedures or important activities; risk of trouble and unhappiness.


Most inauspicious. Fire-water combination can weaken vitality. Not good for starting medical procedures or important activities; risk of shortening life span.


More powerful than FD
Not good for starting important activities and medical procedures.


The days of the nine bad omens are considered the most inauspicious days of the year. It starts on the 6th day of the 11th Tibetan month at 12:00 noon, and ends at 12:00 noon on the 7th day. At the time of the Buddha, one practitioner tried to perform a lot of positive actions on this day, and nine bad things happened to him. Consequently, Buddha proclaimed that on this date each year in the future, it is best not to try to accomplish much. Definitely it is a bad time to start projects or start a retreat. Traditionally, Tibetans play games and have picnics on this day.

The 24 hours after the nine bad omens end (12:00 noon on the 7th to 12:00 noon on the 8th) is considered the day of ten good omens. On this day, ten good things happened to the same practitioner who had experienced the nine bad omens, as he continued to persevere in his performance of positive actions. This period is considered very auspicious for starting projects, retreat, etc. However, Tibetans traditionally play games and have picnics on this day as well.

Source: Alexander Berzin on


Click Here for Instructions for Windows
Click Here for Instructions for Apple

Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. Photo by Clive Arrowsmith.
1024×768 pixels – 42K

Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
Photo by Clive Arrowsmith
Background Color = Red: 81, Green: 62, Blue: 58
Lama Thubten Yeshe. Photo by Bill Kane.
1024×768 pixels – 71K

Lama Thubten Yeshe
Photo by Bill Kane
Background Color = Red: 66, Green: 74, Blue: 136
Buddha Shakyamuni Statue in the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet
1024×768 pixels – 123K

Shakyamuni Buddha Statue in the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet
Background Color = Red: 107, Green: 47, Blue: 36
Buddha Shakyamuni
1024×768 pixels – 145K

Shakyamuni Buddha
Background Color = Red: 0, Green: 0, Blue: 13

Shakyamuni Buddha
64X64 pixels – 13K


Shakyamuni Buddha Tiles
Tile this image for hundreds of Buddhas on your computer.
Background Color = Red: 29, Green: 53, Blue: 150

Om Mani Padme Hum


Om Mani Padme Hum
Background Color = Red: 248, Green: 248, Blue: 224
Green Tara
1024×768 pixels – 146K

Green Tara
Background Color = Red: 58, Green: 85, Blue: 212

Green Tara
64X64 pixels – 13K


Green Tara Tiles
Tile this image for hundreds of Taras on your computer.
Background Color = Red: 29, Green: 53, Blue: 150
Thousand-Armed Chenrezig
1024×768 pixels – 172K

Thousand-Armed Chenrezig
Background Color = Red: 0, Green: 0, Blue: 13

Thousand-Armed Chenrezig
64X64 pixels – 13K


Thousand-Armed Chenrezig Tiles
Tile this image for hundreds of Chenrezigs on your computer.
Background Color = Red: 29, Green: 53, Blue: 150
FPMT Mandala of Universal Wisdom and Compassion
1280×800 pixels – 372K
1024×768 pixels – 138K

FPMT Mandala of Universal Wisdom and Compassion
Background Color = Red: 0, Green: 0, Blue: 32
FPMT Mandala of Universal Wisdom and Compassion
1280×800 pixels – 236K
1024×768 pixels – 101K

FPMT Mandala of Universal Wisdom and Compassion with sky background
Background Color = Red: 14, Green: 8, Blue: 99
Maitreya Project Statue
1024×768 pixels – 55K

Maitreya Project Statue
Courtesy of the Maitreya Project
Background Color = Red: 64, Green: 73, Blue: 114

Windows Instructions
Click on the small version or size of the images below to download the file. Note: Full wallpapers are listed by size.

After the image loads, right-mouse-click on it and select SAVE IMAGE AS and save this file to your Windows or WinNT directory with the same file name, but select BMP (Bitmap) as the file type.To display the image on your computer after you have saved it, right-mouse-click on the desktop, select PROPERTIES and select the image from the list that appears.

OR you may simply select SET AS WALLPAPER and the image will be saved to your computer and displayed for you. If you choose this method, the file will be saved and displayed, but if you repeat this process with another image from the web, then the first image will be replaced and lost.

You will then be able to choose whether to TILE (arrange images side-by-side and top-to-bottom), CENTER or STRETCH (to make a smaller image fill the entire screen).

In some cases, the background color is defined. You can create that color in the same menu by selecting APPEARANCE and then DESKTOP COLOR — you will need to define it as a custom color within the “Other” listing.

Apple Instructions

Creating wallpaper on a Mac (OS 8.6, OS 9).

Click and hold over the picture that you want to use. A menu will appear, choose Save This Image as

Save it (easiest to use the name already given) and put it on the desktop (easy to find).

Go to Control Panels, Appearance. Select the Desktop tab. Click on the Place Picture button. (If there is already a picture on the desktop you will have to click on Remove Picture first). Navigate to the picture. Click on Choose.

Try the different choices for placement and the click on Set Desktop. Close Appearances.


What methods were used to create the microfilm roll and why?
by Tai Vautier

This was a great learning process. The mantra has to be correctly modified in all the right places so that the Tibetan font does not break down under reduction. Over the years I have learned exactly where each syllable breaks down and how all the subscripts react to reduction. After I modify the font by thickening it in certain places and separating it out here and there and I reduce the mantra size down to about 1 mm. Then we go to the printers with this mantra. We attempted many different printing processes at first but we ended up finding that the only way we could get a clear print of small mantras to be used for microfilm was to employ a process called a PMT (photo multiplier tube). This is an old method used before digital technology took over. This process develops a photo of the selected images using a software called Freehand 9 to feed the images to the PMT machine and produce a PMT with of the thousands of minute mantras all perfectly clear on one large photographic page. Using a photo process keeps the images from bleeding as even the highest quality laser printers bleed. Now it is impossible for us to find someone who still owns a PMT machine and knows how to use Freehand 9 so we have switched to a Digital PMT process still using the same software and it works almost as well as the previous process.

Once we have the PMT we send this to HOV Services and they shoot our film for us. Then we trouble shoot through various tests until we achieve the smallest and clearest mantra size possible.

A huge thank you to Scott J. at Eurografics in Florida for our PMTs and to Bob Rayner, Mike Tedesco, Cesar Rodriguez and George Gasparovich at HOV Services in Albuquerque NM., Amarillo TX., El Paso TX.

by Lama Zopa Rinpoche


The Source of the Practice of the Mani Wheel

As the great master Nagarjuna was predicted by the Great Compassionate One: “In the naga’s country in the palace of the King of Nagas, the bodhisattva possesses one very powerful Dharma wheel. Just by seeing, hearing, touching, or remembering the Dharma wheel, you will quickly be liberated from the suffering of the lower realms. With this you will produce extensive works for sentient beings.”

The Limitless Light Buddha Amitabha said: “For the benefit of sentient beings of the degenerate age, I have explained the benefits of the mani wheel. The one who practices while turning equals the fortune of the thousand buddhas.”

The Founder Savior, the unequalled Shakya King, told the bodhisattva Dripa Namsil: “It is more beneficial to turn the Dharma wheel one time than [to be] a meditator of highest capacity who engages in one-year retreat on the essence meaning of mantra. It is more beneficial than [to be] a middle capacity meditator who does retreat for seven years or a lower capacity meditator who does a nine-year retreat.”

Manjushri said: “The four protectors and the ten direction guardians will protect you from all obstacles, from all directions and corners. The negative karma of the lower realms, the five uninterrupted actions, and the ten non-virtuous actions are purified. You will travel to all the pure lands of the buddhas, and in the Blissful Pure Land. You will be reborn on the lion’s throne in the lotus heart of the Blissful Pure Land. You will perform the actions of all the buddhas in all directions.”

Manjushri said: “This great Dharma wheel protects you from all the harm-givers, devas, spirit possessions, from the nagas down below, from Steno in the middle, and from the multitude of yakshas.”

From The Peerless Wish-Granting Jewel Tantra: “The person who turns this wheel which possesses OM MANI PADME HUM will be blessed by all the gurus, the deities will grant realizations, those gone to bliss will pay attention to him or her, and the Dharma protectors will eliminate all sobstacles.”

From The Will of the Action of the Compassionate Eye Loving One: “Each time you turn this OM MANI PADME HUM Dharma wheel equals the number (of the mantra) of the approximation retreat.”

The benefits of establishing the Dharma wheel in earth, water, fire, and wind: “When you put this great wheel OM MANI PADME HUM up in the wind, all those sentient beings who are touched by the wind and all those migrators abiding in the direction of the wind will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms. When you place the Dharma wheel in the fire, any sentient being who smells the smoke and all those migrators who see the light of the fire will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms. If you place the Dharma wheel in the ground, all those migrator beings who receive the dust and the sentient beings abiding in that ground will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms. If you place the Dharma wheel in water, all those sentient beings abiding and drinking the water will be liberated from the sufferings of the lower realms.”

Therefore, the fortunate capable beings turn the great Dharma wheel upright: the highest intelligent person will achieve enlightenment and work for sentient beings; the middle capable being will achieve fortunate rebirth and join the holy Dharma; and the lowest capable being will achieve good rebirth, separate from the ten non-virtuous actions.

If you place the Dharma wheel at home and turn it, the migrator beings abiding in that house will be liberated, and the home will become similar to the Potala (Pure Land of Chenrezig). At the time of death, if you place the Dharma wheel with OM MANI PADME HUM next to your head and make requests with intense devotional mind, without need of practicing powa (transference of consciousness) your consciousness will be transferred in one instant to the heart of the Compassionate One. Therefore, without qualms of a two-pointed mind in this profound supreme Dharma wheel, one should cherish it, build the Dharma wheel with perseverance, and turn it with an intense wish.

The Savior Loving One Maitreya said: “If you offer good divine robes to the profound Dharma wheel, you will receive good clothing for 500 lifetimes. Due to the merits of having offered the hook to the profound Dharma wheel, you will be able to go through all the paths of liberation. By the merits of offering the hanging weight, you will become the savior of all migrator beings. You will accumulate more merits than having recited 100,000 times 10,000,000 mantras. The titans and the harm-givers will prostrate to you. You will control human beings, wealth, and food. All your connections will become meaningful, and sentient beings touched by your shadow will be liberated from the lower realms.”

If you offer various needs – food and so forth – to this Dharma wheel with OM MANI PADME HUM, you will become the thousand wheel–turning Dharma king, enjoying whatever you wish. And at the end you will meet the Superior Compassionate Eye Looking One. For those fortunate beings who reveal this Dharma wheel possessing OM MANI PADME HUM to others, or explain or spread the teachings of this wheel, it is like spreading the teachings of the buddhas.

From The Tantra Possessing the Lotus Garland: “In short, all the accumulation of vices, defeats, downfalls, and so forth will be purified without effort. One is liberated just by seeing and hearing.”

From The Tantra of the Circle of Six Thousand: “Even for the person who turns this precious wheel, any sentient being who sees, hears, remembers, or touches him or her completes the merits, purifies defilements, and achieves enlightenment.”

From The Sutra of the Great Chu Lung: “By the merits generated by offering a golden pinnacle (to the Dharma wheel), one will receive perfect enjoyments for eons. Due to the merits of having offered services, one will possess a good heart and clear mind wisdom. The person who turns the Dharma wheel will become the son of the thousand buddhas, the guide of all migrators. Thus is explained by the Buddha. When death comes, place the Dharma wheel at your crown and you won’t need to practice powa. When you carry the Dharma wheel and meet other sentient beings, even those who have killed their father or mother will be liberated. Even the sentient beings who see the wheel on the bridge will be liberated.”

Dictated to Fabrizio Champa Palgye in Dharamsala March 1998, for Richard Gere who came for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Losar teachings.


The Mani Wheel

Around Losar 1998, I had a silver prayer wheel that had been ordered by Lama Pasang. Richard Gere was in Dharamsala at that time and did not know about mani prayer wheels, so I mentioned how I had found a prayer wheel text and how important and beneficial prayer wheels were. In the past, in Solu Khumbu, I hadn’t believed that turning a prayer wheel could become Dharma, because Dharma has to do with the mind. But all the Solu Khumbu old people, including my mother, used to turn prayer wheels almost all day, even when crossing mountains by foot.

Then I found a text that had belonged to the Lawudo Lama, who is said to be my past life incarnation and whose name was Lama Yeshe. Most of the texts left in the Lawudo Lama’s very humid cave were handwritten, so I had to dry them out on the roof for a while. While doing this, I noticed one old scripture called Mani Kumbum (The 100,000 Teachings on Mani). There were two or three lines talking about the lineage of prayer wheels. Nagarjuna received it from the land of the nagas, who had originally received it from Chenrezig. Nagarjuna passed the lineage on to Lion-Face Dakini; she passed it to Padmasambhava, and he then brought it to Tibet. These references gave me faith.

Then the text explained the visualization of how different colored beams of light emanate from the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM throughout the six realms of samsara, purifying sentient beings of the five types of delusion and generating the five types of wisdom in their minds. This, too, gave me faith in prayer wheel practice.

When I told Richard about all this, he immediately said that he was fully convinced and also had faith in the practice, so I gave him my silver prayer wheel. Later he had to go to Bombay to raise funds for people with AIDS and took the prayer wheel with him. Many actors came to meet him, and because he was carrying the prayer wheel, they touched it and felt its power. One actress felt so much power that she started to shake.

Anyway, I translated the benefits of prayer wheels for Richard, choosing quotations from a text compiled by the Seventh Panchen Lama, Tempai Nyima, which I had received in Sydney from Kechog Rinpoche, an incarnate lama from Sera-me Monastery. As well as explaining the extensive benefits of prayer wheels, this text also tells you how to make them. The end few quotations are from another text by a Kagyu lama; it might be based on the explanations of Karma Pakshi, the Second Karmapa Lama.

My root guru, His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, built the McLeod Ganj prayer wheel that is situated near the many Tibetan restaurants and Indian vegetable shops. It was built for people young and old to turn and circumambulate in order to purify their negative karma and collect extensive merit to quickly get out of samsara and achieve enlightenment. It was also built in memory of one of His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche’s attendants who had taken care of and served Rinpoche since he was very young. This attendant had passed away in India, so the prayer wheel was build for his purification as well, for him to complete the path and achieve enlightenment. That was the immediate cause for building that prayer wheel, but of course, it was to benefit everyone else as well.

When Geshe Rabten Rinpoche lived in Dharamsala, he used to keep a large prayer wheel in front of him and would turn it by pulling a string connected to its bottom. He was my first philosophy teacher in the Buxa refugee camp. He was a great scholar and a highly attained yogi. It is quite rare to see geshes from the three great monasteries Sera, Ganden, or Drepung with prayer wheels, so it was always surprising to see Geshe Rinpoche with one, but that might have been because his root guru was His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, and perhaps when His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche built the prayer wheel in McLeod Ganj, Geshe Rinpoche realized the important benefits of prayer wheels.

Sometimes houses in Tibet and Solu Khumbu would contain large prayer wheels, with smaller prayer wheels near your bed to turn. They often had small bells on them. In Amdo, Lama Tsongkhapa’s Kumbum Monastery has many prayer wheels, as does Tashi Drang Khyil Monastery, which has many prayer wheels all the way around its perimeter. The main temple in Lhasa also has rows of small prayer wheels around it.

Besides the extensive benefits of prayer wheels taught in texts, there’s also my own experience. Some years ago at Chenrezig Institute in Australia, even though I had been there many times, when Geshe Lama Konchog was resident teacher, the place seemed extremely serene, peaceful and very special. I thought it must be due to Geshe Lama Konchog’s realization of bodhichitta. Later, however, it occurred to me that Chenrezig Institute now had a small prayer wheel that had been built by Geshe Lama Konchog, and I realized that the peace must, in fact, be due to that.

After that, I went to Brazil. One lady there, who I call Amala, had been working for Tarthang Tulku’s center for a year, rolling mantras and working on holy objects. In all that time she had never even seen Tarthang Tulku, which she found quite hard. She gave me a book by one of his students, about how at his centers the students work at making holy objects, such as statues, stupas, and prayer wheels. It said that after a prayer wheel has been made, the place completely transforms, becomes very peaceful. That line in the book also increased my faith and confirmed my impression that Chenrezig Institute was serene because of its prayer wheel.

So, in addition to what the texts mention, my own experience is also that prayer wheels transform the environment into a peaceful one and bless all beings nearby, including the insects on the ground, protecting them from rebirth in the lower realms.

Dictated to Ven Holly, Milarepa Center, August 2002. Edited by Nick Ribush.
Final editing by Ven. Constance Miller, FPMT Education Services, February 2003.

How To Build A Prayer Wheel Correctly

For a more extensive explanation please refer to Lorne Ladner’s book The Wheel of Great Compassion, published by Wisdom. To purchase this book online, please go to

How to Wind the Microfilm in the Prayer Wheel

First check the end of the film and carefully trim the page if it has been cut mid frame. Dispose of the piece as with other Dharma materials.

Next, ensure the film is the correct way up and running in the correct direction. This is vitally important! We are working to get a clearer indicator on the beginning of the film. It should say “beginning” readable by the eye on the front of the film. (Bear with us we are currently working on this).

If you are unable to see the word “beginning” with your eyes try placing a white piece of paper behind the film helps or using a jeweler’s loupe is good too, if it does not say this you will need a microscope. Note: most microscopes flip the images upside down….

Properly preparing the central shaft:

Before you actually wind the film around the central shaft you have to have the central shaft properly prepared. In order to do this you need to have the “Tree of Life” mantra wound around the shaft. This mantra is below in a PDF. Once this mantra is taped, with the mantra facing out so you can see it around the shaft, the film can then be wound around the shaft and mantra.

Once you have determined the correct direction in which your film is going, then simply tape one end of the microfilm to the center shaft of your prayer wheel, make sure that when all the film is wound around the shaft that the OMs are going around first when you spin the prayer wheel.

Once you have spun the needed amount of microfilm around the central shaft you will need to mark on the remaining film with an indicator to indicate which direction the mantras are going so you know which way is up when you pick the film up next.  

The other important ingredient in building an authentic prayer wheel is putting two very specific mandalas into the prayer wheel. These mandalas are in PDF’s below and can be printed out on paper and then glued to the inside lid and inside base of the prayer wheel where the film will sit in between. The earth and sky wheels must be lined up exactly correctly. To do this, align the ‘hung’s’. The ‘hung’s’ need to be one above the other facing each other. The Earth wheel goes facing out so that the printing can be seen, on the inside bottom of the prayer wheel with the prayers or microfilm sitting on top of it. The Sky wheel goes on the top inside of the prayer wheel, over the top of the prayers or microfilm, also facing out so you can see the printing. These mandalas are best fitted to the inside of the “lid” of the prayer wheel and the inside of the base of the prayer wheel facing each other with the Hung’s (as in Om Mani Padme Hung, not to be mistaken as the center syllable of Hri), lined up one over the other.

Once you finish winding all your film around the shaft and if you include any paper mantras those should all be either taped or saran wrapped down around the microfilm so they are tightly bound and won’t fall. Then you will cover the mantras in the 5 colors of the Buddha Families. In small prayer wheels you can use different colored electrical tape but in big prayer wheels you will need to use cloth. So each color gets wrapped around the prayer wheel from top to bottom. Ex. White at the top, then yellow next, then blue, then green, then red, all the way so that no film or mantra paper is exposed. This should be done neatly and tightly so it lasts. You can wrap it and tie it or even mache it to the mantras…

Prayer wheel completion:

Once the tree of life shaft mantra is fixed around the central shaft, the film is wound properly and going in the correct direction around the shaft and the Earth Mandala is on the inside bottom and the Sky mandala on the inside top and the five colors are wrapped around the film,  then the inside of your prayer wheel is done~

Then comes the outside: Lama Zopa talks about the importance of adorning the outside of the prayer wheel with Sanskrit syllables that say OM Mani Padme Hung and using the 8 auspicious signs as embellishments. These can be painted on, or carved or embossed out of metal and adhered. He also recommends adorning the prayer wheel with precious gems and strands of pearls as well as placing an umbrella over the top of it if it is to be a large stationary wheel that is spun as you walk around it~

If Microfilm Is Too Expensive

A prayer wheel should be full, but it doesn’t have to be full of microfilm if it is too expensive. An alternative and cheaper way to fill a prayer wheel is to make many copies of the mani mantra onto paper using a photocopy machine and then after you are finished placing the microfilm in (as much microfilm as you can afford), then wind the paper mantras around the shaft in the same way as you did with the microfilm. If this is done in the best way with the means that you have then the merit is very good. In time you can always purchase more microfilm and slowly work on replacing the paper mantras with the film mantras. Soon we will have a PDF of tiny Mani mantras available for printing.

How To Include Texts

If the texts are on microfilm then of course they need to be wound around the shaft correctly (in the right direction). If they are texts that have pages they can go in flat like a whole book being laid inside the prayer wheel, usually on top of all the wound mantras or next to the microfilm if there is room along the edges.

Download the Earth and Sky Wheels (pdf)

Earth Wheel »
Sky Wheel »

Download the Life Tree Mantra (pdf)


The information here relates to the master microfilm files developed by FPMT Education Services.

We are currently providing certain mantra files as well as prayers and sutras specifically for replication on microfilm. This film is designed for the purpose of filling prayer wheels, stupas and statues with the maximum number of mantras, prayers, sutras possible.

Currently we have OM MANI PADME HUM as well as other mantras available for replication on microfilm. Each file has a different number of mantras on it. Microfilm is ordered in 2000 foot rolls. For the number of mantras per 2000 foot roll please see the best of mantras available and the numbers for each below. For example, 2000 Feet of OM MANI PADME HUM on microfilm contains 685,809,230 mantras. The master file for this microfilm took several months to complete, using the best technology available in order to create the clearest images possible. This master roll has the most mantras that can be put onto microfilm while maintaining the best quality – Lama Zopa Rinpoche advises that the mantras must be legible for the microfilm to be suitable to be used to fill prayer wheels and stupas.

What Is Microfilm?

Microfilm is actual film, like the film you put in a regular camera. The microfilm we use for the purpose of Mani mantras is 16mm wide (5 / 8ths of an inch) and thinner than camera film. Microfilm cameras have the ability to take an original document as large as legal size (11″x14″) and reduce the image to 16mm by 10 mm on the microfilm. Then when the microfilm is processed (in the same manner as black and white film is processed), the images come out clearly in black and white and microscopic on the film. A microfilm reader is used to read the images on the microfilm. The film is placed into a certain slot and fed through a light and magnifier that produces the image onto a screen in front of the viewer, but in the case of mantras our images are so small that a microscope is needed to read the mantras. Microfilm is primarily used by libraries and government to store and archive documents and periodicals.

How Do I Order Mani Microfilm?

Microfilm comes in 2000 foot rolls and is 10″ in diameter by 5/8″. The film weighs approximately 10 lbs a roll. Microfilm of any of the mantras, prayers or sutras listed below can be ordered by contacting with your request.

Using Mani Film For Prayer Wheels

It is important to determine the correct direction of the film so that the mantras can be wound going clockwise around the central shaft, meaning the OM should be going first and the HUM last.  We are currently working to get a better indicator on our Mani film. All our film will have readable indication in the beginning of the film itself that says BEGINNING. This will be legible to the naked eye.

What Is The Life Span Of Microfilm?

Microfilm can last over 100 years before any deterioration is detected. This is under optimal conditions, which means keeping the microfilm in a cool, dry, dark place. For prayer wheels, it is very important to consider what the conditions in the interior of the prayer wheel will be like. Microfilm will melt under extremely hot conditions (if the film is touching the hot metal on the inside walls of a prayer wheel that is standing in direct sun). If metal prayer wheels are constructed with the intention to hold microfilm they need to be insulated and ideally have a shelter over them to protect them from heat. You can use fiberglass or foam insulation, even wool or newspaper will work.

If a prayer wheel is going to be constructed in very humid conditions, make sure to wind the film tight so that moisture does not get in between the layers of film. If there is space in between the film layers as it is being wound then moisture will seep into the gaps and could form mold. To prevent this, the film must be wound tightly around itself and a layer of absorbent material should insulate the prayer wheel interior. With these precautions your film should be fine.

If these problems are avoided, the film should last a minimum of 100 years.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche Asked Me To Put Mantras And Prayers Onto Microfilm – How Do I Do That??

If you are working at an FPMT center and Lama Zopa Rinpoche has requested you to put certain mantras and texts onto film for your prayer wheel or stupa, you may email your request to Education Services at FPMT International Office: Education Services will provide the mantras and texts you need to the microfilm company who will then make the film. Any mantra or text you have been requested to put in your stupa or prayer wheel needs to be reduced and altered in order to fit as many images as possible onto the film while maintaining perfect clarity. Education Services will work with Tai Vautier to create the new mantra files for microfilm.

Microfilm Available

The following mantras are available for replication on microfilm:

Chenrezig Mani Mantra: 685,809,230 per 2000 foot roll
Longest Chenrezig Mantra  425,397 per 2000 foot roll
Four Dharmakaya Relic Mantras 185,089 per 2000 foot roll, with individual mantra numbers as follows:

Stainless Pinnacle, Tsugtor Drime: 185,089
Zung of the Exalted Completely Pure Stainless Light: 185,089
Secret Relic: 185,089
100,000 Ornaments: 185,089

Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) Mantra: 28,966,617 per 2000 foot roll
Five Powerful Deity Mantras: 1,849,807 per 2000 foot roll, with individual mantra numbers as follows:

Mitrugpa: 369,961
Stainless Pinnacle: 246,641
Kunrig: 123,320
Namgyalma: 493,282
Lotus Pinnacle of Amogapasha: 616,602

Amitayus Long Life Sutra: 53,352 per 2000 foot roll
Namgyalma Mantra: approximately 1,116,000 per 2000 foot roll
Zung of the Exalted Completely Pure Stainless Light: approximately 2,170,000 per 2000 foot roll
Kunrig Mantra: TBD
Stainless Pinnacle, Tsugtor Drime: 3,038,000 per 2000 foot roll
Kurukulla Mantra: 44,909,235 per 2000 foot roll
Dependent Related Heart Mantra: 12,303,900 per 2000 foot roll


For a complete list of microfilm available, please contact Tai Vautier at:
With very grateful thanks to Tai Vautier for all her work on this project!



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Other Resources

Microfilm for Prayer Wheels:
FPMT provides certain mantras as well as prayers and sutras as microfilm ready files for the use of FPMT centers and projects. Microfilm is designed for the purpose of filling prayer wheels, stupas and statues with the most number of mantras, prayers or sutras as possible.