The 3 Day Turn-a-thon
For the 49th day of Lama Zopa passing the community gathered to turn the in-progress prayer wheel for three full days. It was a beautiful endeavor including the staff on the land joyfully splitting up the overnight shift to make sure the 11pm to 6am shifts were covered. Staff then took turns every 1-2 hours turning the wheel, with many from the local community coming out to fill in 1-3 hour shifts as needed.
All together we turned the wheel for all 24 hours a day, for the three complete days. We finished with Rinpoche’s swift return prayers and other dedications for Rinpoche’s return, for all FPMT projects to see completion quickly, and for all sentient beings to be liberated. You can see the closing dedications on our Facebook page.
New painting and Sculptures
The scaffolding went back up and Gelek Sherpa got back to service finishing painting and lettering on the under part of the roof for the Mandala House. Gelek then moved on to the ornate sculptures for the support beams. With the help of Dechen, we installed lotus molds and Gelek started them painting in a rainbow of color.
This past winter was one of the worst we saw in 40 years at Vajrapani – nonstop rain, hail, 4-6 inches of snow, and a 100mph windstorm. Through all this, the Prayer Wheel held up beautifully! All the previous protections, tree work, and prayers saw the Prayer Wheel and Mandala House come out unscathed. We continued fundraising, turning the 1.2 trillion mantra wheel, and preparing for warmer weather.
In early May, the scaffolding was put back up, allowing our extraordinary Himalayan artist, Gelek Sherpa, to continue to install the artwork and sculptures on the under-roof areas. The beam cushions have been fabricated and ready to install, keeping ahead of the artist, not to slow him down. If all goes well, the final details of the mandala house will be completed this summer!
The cabinet to house the nano mantras has been fabricated and is awaiting assembly and installation until the first 1 quadrillion mantras arrives on site.
The Prayer Wheel is available during this time to come and use. 1 trillion mantras are already wound onto this wonder holy Prayer Wheel!
In December our precious friend Dechen installed the bell at the prayer wheel. After some polishing and adjustments we’re happy to hear the ringing of emptiness now as guests turn this great wheel of compassion!
We also continue to prepare for the nano film to fill this blessed object. Our engineering team has tirelessly worked to engineer the internal cabinet systems to house the future 1500 rolls of film. We also found a generous person to meticulously CNC the parts for the internal cabinet system. We are happy to share this is all done and stored until we finish the fundraising.
Thanks to Gelek and Venerable Tsering’s hard work this summer, we have finished the intricate painting of the mandala house’s under roof. With that complete, the scaffolding, which has been surrounding the prayer wheel for almost 3 years, has officially come down. This is a huge milestone as we can now make the prayer wheel available to visitors! Dechen, has even installed the lighting so that when night falls, the prayer wheel will stay lit for people to turn day or night.
Feel free to come by and turn this amazing wheel. Right now it only has 1 trillion mantras, but when full it will house over 3 quadrillion mantras of great compassion (om mani padme hum). If you want to finish this one of a kind project, please considering clicking the donate button and help us purchase the final rolls of mantras to finish this great wheel!
Early 2022 we were working through obstacles to finish the prayer wheel, mainly around sourcing microfilm for the final 2 trillion mantras. It was at this time that we received a message from Lama Zopa Rinpoche in regards to film and mantra printing. Rinpoche had just approved a brand new method of printing mantras on to film using nano technology, which would allow us to increase the number of mantras wound on to the wheel exponentially. Not only did Rinpoche approve this film’s usage, but he gifted 3 rolls (containing 6 trillion mantras) to Vajrapani with the advice to use this new nano film technology to finish our prayer wheel.
Rinpoche’s wishes from the start of this project was always to use “as many mani mantras as possible.” We spent the last 4 months re-engineering the contents and structure inside the prayer wheel to use this new film and are happy to share the new goal to make Lama Zopa’s wishes come true! When complete the wheel will contain 1500 rolls of nano film and total over 3 quadrillion (that’s 3,000 trillion) mani mantras!
sponsors a single roll of film, or 2 trillion mantras! We need 1500 people to donate this amount to reach the our goal!
sponsors 2 rolls of film – that’s 4 trillion mantras! Wow, wow, wow!
sponsors 3 rolls of film, or 6 trillion mantras! We only need 500 people to donate this amount to completely fill the prayer wheel!
Sample roll of nano film
a gift of this size buys almost 6 rolls of film, or 11.5 trillion mantras!
a gift of this size buys almost 14.5 rolls of film, or 29 trillion mantras. This is like sponsoring 1/100th of the film needed!
a gift of this size buys almost 29 rolls of film, or 58 trillion mantras!!! That would be 1/50 of the film needed!
In order to reach enlightenment for ourselves and all sentient beings, we need to remove obstacles, purify non-virtuous karma, and create merit.
A prayer wheel is a holy object filled with mantras (like om mani padme hum) and is there to bless the land, space, and everyone that turns this great wheel. Each turning of the prayer wheel, is equal to you reciting the total number of mantras that are inside the prayer wheel. Imagine how long it takes to say 1,000 ‘om mani padme hum’ mantras, let alone 1 million, 1 billion, 1 trillion, or 1 quadrillion mantras.
When finished, turning this prayer wheel one time will be the equivalent of saying 3 quadrillion mantras. Turning the prayer wheel one time will be the equivalent of saying mantras in retreat for 48 million years!
Want to know more about where your donation will go? While most of the money raised will buy the nano film and mantras, there are some other tasks still to be finished. The mandala house that holds the prayer wheel needs its final paintings and sculptures. The grounds need to be improved for accessibility, drainage, and beautification. Here is a break down of remaining costs to complete the prayer project:
Remaining funds to raise: $517,500
In 1999 our Spiritual Director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, gifted Vajrapani Institute a magnificent 10’ tall, traditional copper prayer wheel from Nepal. His advice was to fill the prayer wheel with “gazillions” of mantras, or in other words, as many mani mantras as possible.
Looking at the most advanced technology of the time, which was microfilm, we created and engineered plans to build a prayer wheel housing over 3 trillion mantras of great compassion – the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM. We spent the years engineering and constructing the mandala abode which would house this great prayer wheel. Given our location, in California, the engineering was even more difficult as we needed to make sure the final weight (over 18,000 lbs) would withstand erosion and earthquakes. After many structural engineering iterations, we were ready to break ground!
For the next 5 years we would finish the phase 1 construction. We completed the mandala abode and the core, inner elements of the prayer wheel including the reinforced central column, bearings, sky and earth mandalas. Finally we were ready for the mantras to be rolled onto the central column.
From 2019 to 2021 we continued to get microfilm printed with hundreds of thousands of mantras. By the end of 2021 we finished phase 2 – rolling the first trillion mani mantras onto the wheel – one third of our original goal.
In 2020, the pandemic started, and by fall of 2021 we would feel the global impact of supply chain problems to the prayer wheel. The resources needed to make microfilm became scarcer, and therefore our printer was having increased obstacles to sourcing microfilm.
In January 2022, Lama Zopa contacted us to give the wonderful news that would remove our obstacles to sourcing film. For ten years a faithful student of Rinpoche’s, Venerable Drachom of Singapore, had been working on a new film technology that allows 1,000 times the number of mantras to be printed on a roll of film (compared to microfilm). This new technology, called nano film, was approved by Lama Zopa and he advised us to adjust our plans to this new medium for printing. His wish had always been to use “as many mani mantras as possible” to benefit beings.
Here we are today, in the final phase of the prayer wheel. We re-engineered the contents of the prayer wheel to use this new technology and in May 2022 we set the goal of using 1500 rolls of nano film, allowing our prayer wheel to contain over 3 quadrillion (3,000 trillion) mantras!
We would like to acknowledge all the donations and hard work so far on this holy object. Thanks to everyone’s donations thus far, we have completed all the structural engineering, the main interior painting of the mandala house, and filled over 1 trillion mantras on microfilm!
Thank you to everyone who has helped and donated over the past 20 years! We rejoice in all the merits created and look forward to finishing this astonishing holy object.