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Common Religious Objects

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Common Religious Objects

Throughout Tibet, monks and laymen have always used religious articles as part of their daily lives. Some of those most commonly encountered are listed below:

Prayer Flag Found in clusters fluttering on roofs, at mountain passes, strung across rivers, above paths, etc. Prayers and mantras printed by woodblock on five colours of cotton cloth are thought to be carried heavenward by the wind.

Prayer Wheel A hollow cylinder containing printed prayers or mantras. Every rotation equals a recitation of the contents. All sizes. Most are hand-held or hand-turned in fixed rows around temples; some are turned by water or heat. Dorje and bell The dorje represents a thunderbolt. Fundamental symbol of tantric faith. It is used with the bell in all rituals. The note of the bell, or trulpu, is said to drive away evil by its magic music.

Mani Stone A smooth stone inscribed with universal mantra Om Mani Padme Hum. Found in piles near temples and beside pilgrim paths. Juniper hearth Large stupa-shaped fireplace found near temples and holy spots, fuelled with juniper wood, whose sacred, fragrant smoke constitutes an offering and bestows blessing.

Butter and Tsampa Sculpture Torma or ' holy food', ritually presented to the gods, is usually a cone of colored tsampa ( barley meal) supporting decorated medallions of butter. Elaborate, gilded versions made at New Year remain on altars in glass cases throughout the year.


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