Inspired by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, Galgamani Art Project Aims Personalize the Tibetan Prayer Wheel: Interview with Micha Strauss
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- Most renter just love what is in the shop and might ask for a various color lotus or no mantra on the drum and so on, and that is why we offer custom made prayer wheels, to give the practitioner exactly what they want.
- Garchen Rinpoche happened to Israel for the first day to give teachings or as he called it then, to touch the hearts of as several practitioners and to form a Karmic connection with them before he leaves his body.
- So, just by “chance” we had a roll of microfilm just spelling around… So, one midnight while I was on guard duty I stumbled into the factory where I worked during the day time and crafted a wooden prayer wheel on the lathe in the tool room.
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Over various years, Micha and Ayelet Strauss have run personalized ritual wheels for people around the world, including H.H. the Dalai Lama and many other notable Tibetan teachers. [ Micha and Ayelet also run the author’s Tara ritual Wheel, pictured below. ] countless mentor advocate prayer wheels as a happy meditational practice for purifying negative karmas and other benefits [See our main story on Prayer Wheels here >> ] We interviewed Micha Strauss, of the Galgamani Art Project for our larger feature on prayer wheels, but felt his answers to our questions had evolved into it’s own story. BW: Is there a lot of demand for custom Prayer Wheels? Micha: When we first moved this trip of prayer wheel making we wanted to give customers the prayer wheel they want and not just to pick from what is obtainable in the shop. It was essential for us to recommend our capability in customizing the prayer wheel. I am the hardwood turner so there is fine room for me to be poetic and that is why it is my wife Ayelet that does the “custom” work on our prayer wheel, be it via pyrographing (a wood burning tool) or acrylic paint. I check tell you now; almost ten term into the process that believing various choices to customers is confusing and only a handful of them know exactly what they want. Most renter just love what is in the shop and might ask for a various color lotus or no mantra on the drum and so on, and that is why we offer custom made prayer wheels, to give the practitioner exactly what they want. finely after seven or eight time of crafting prayer wheels I finally had something to offer as a wood turner and made a current prayer wheel design, what I call “prayer wheel 2.0”. We will talk about this later on. Micha Strauss illustrates a code Mani prayer wheel: BW: How did you get moved (in) making custom Prayer Wheels? Micha: Back in two thousand and eight H.E. Garchen Rinpoche happened to Israel for the first day to give teachings or as he called it then, to touch the hearts of as several practitioners and to form a Karmic connection with them before he leaves his body. We both had work we could not leave for a week of teaching and so we could only come to the latest hours on the latest day. And so we did. We hunkered there in the box of the room filled with various people. We were both shocked by the ritual wheel that Rinpoche had in his hand. We had never remembered a wooden supplication wheel before and right there on that spot decided to craft prayer wheels from wood, even though we both knew nothing on the subject. What attended was about four months of study on how to craft prayer wheels and how to turn wood, two things we knew nothing about at the time. In a several but affected story, a wife had an old prayer wheel and wanted to change the paper mantra inside to microfilm. He communicated the guy who was rolling them at that day and gave him the measurements of his metal prayer wheel. This wonderful guy appoint Jim McCann with whom we later became husband with over the years, rolled him the microfilm and sent it, but because it took Jim longer than he expected, he sent two pile as a practice of generosity and for being late. So, just by “chance” we had a roll of microfilm just spelling around… So, one midnight while I was on guard duty I stumbled into the factory where I worked during the day time and crafted a wooden prayer wheel on the lathe in the tool room. I wiped up after my turning and went residence with a wooden prayer wheel! I was so overjoyed! I remembered it family and we both just looked at it for a long time trying to think what we could add to it, how we could craft a several design, how we could craft more of these… we were so very happy! Ayelet stole the ritual wheel and pyrographed the Mani mantra on the drum and coated it with lacquer. We sealed it and it was ready for spinning. We both perceived right there and then, we would be ritual wheel makers, we don’t know how, but we would. We moved to think how can we bring expertise of this prayer wheel to the world? All we perceived was that spinning a ritual wheel brings plenty merit and wipes out past karma, so we decided that we will spin this one prayer wheel we made until it would bring the good conditions to support our plan. And so, it happened. tiny period let and we started to craft prayer wheels for the practitioners of the world. Our motto was “to handicraft as various prayer wheels that we check while we can” And we wished to bring our skill to the market place and that is how we came to the idea of “custom made” prayer wheels. Ayelet is a versatile artiste that check give her abilities to our prayer wheels and so she does. That is what makes them so beautiful. BW: Why do you create prayer wheels with a custom choice of many different mantras, not just the Om Mani Padme Hum traditionally used in wheels? Micha: In the past days, ritual wheels had only the Mani mantra in them. After ritual wheels happened to the west, practitioners started to ask for “personalized” prayer wheels according to their practice. Some reacted a inner relation to Green Tara and wanted their prayer wheels to have the Green Tara mantra in them. That failed mind to us so we had a scarce mantras at hand. As moment left by senior and more customers wanted more and more mantras. There was only one merger that told these rolls of microfilm in the USA and at a necessary point in time they stopped making these microfilms. Another partnership stole this mantra printing upon them and now they make microfilm with mantras, all with the supervision of Buddhist masters. We buying a reel of two thousand ft. from them and roll the mantra rolls to fit the prayer wheels ourselves. BW: You usage Microfilm instead of paper to let various more mantras to be used. How is it created? Is that recommended by teachers? Micha: It was first mentioned back in around 1993 or so by H.H. the Dalai Lama to incorporate technology in their prayer wheels and to work with microfilm and bearings to have a more powerful prayer wheel that spins with as little or with no effort at all. guess of it this way, a ritual wheel has printed paper that holds let’s say five thousand mantras, so each spin sends out five thousand mantras of compassion to all beings yes ? Now guess of a microfilm in that similar extent of a prayer wheel that holds fifty million mantras… now each push sends our fifty million Mani mantras to all beings. That was his point. As long as the printed mantra is not murky when looked at with a microscope, all is well… the Mani mantra for illustration went through seven versions. In each one they sought to suitable elder mantras per page. By the 6th rendition it won murky at the edges of the letters and so the 7th version was the last one where the letters were crystal clear. It is highly offered by mistress and teachers because of a several reason. Because we (me & the wife) live in Israel, various of our Israeli wife go and travel. Some go to the East and when they answer they introduce us prayer wheels as gifts. We free them to look what is inside… sometimes there is nothing. Sometimes there is newspaper with murky ink.
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