¢ \%e7

From a Sketch by the Author.







RL, MR.AS., FRGS., Hon, Assocars RDA, e7C.

“Instruct the planets in what orbs to run, Correct old Time, and regulate the Sus ; Go soar with Piato to the empyreal sphere, To the first good, first perfect, and first fair ! Or tread the mazy round his followers trod, And quitting sense call imitating God ; As Eastern priests in giddy circles run, And turn their heads to itmitate the Sun.” Pore, Exay on Ban,




“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. ‘There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. ‘Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it'—Ps, xix,

“That day, as other solemn days, they spent In song and dance about the sacred hill ; Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere Of planets, and of fixed in all her wheels Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,

Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular,

‘Then most, when most irregular they seem ;

And in their motions harmony divine.’ Paradise Lost, Be. v.

* He, who hath the power, JHad with another sun bedecked the sky. Her eyes fast fixed on the eternal wheels Beatrice stood unmoved.’ DantE, Par. Canto i.

* Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey dew hath fed, And drank the milk of paradise." COLERIDGE, Kubla Khan.




































PAGE 125










13. 14. 15. 16, 17. 18. 19. 20.




Large Praying-Wheel at Soonum 5 . Frontispiece

. Small Hand Praying-Wheel 3

Praying-Barrels propelled by Water-Wheels at Soonum . Dorjé, or Vajra . . . . . Praying-Barrels at Kalsi, on the Indus. 7 Row of Praying-Cylinders in the Hemis Lamasery, on the Indus. . . : : . Praying-Barrel driven by Water-Wheel at Ghia. Praying-Wheel at Ghia. . . . 7 Wheel on Pillar. Sculpture at Sanchi . Worshipping a Wheel, Sculpture at Sanchi

» Throne and Wheel. From Amardvati Sculptures

Foot of Buddha with Wheel. From Amarivati Sculptures

. Buddha on Lotus Throne. From Sculpture in the Ajanta

Caves , . ; Plan of the SAnchi Stapa : Plan of Buddhist Chaitya Temple Jaina Wheel on Jaina Sculpture, Mathara Hindu circumambulating the sacred Tulsi Plant ‘The Sudarsana-Chakra at Puri. : Brass Chakra found in the Krishna District . :

Apollo with Swastika : : Scripture-Wheel, Buddhist Temple, Asukusa, Tokio, Japan

Japanese Praying-Wheel . F 7 . :

ma 415 7

96 107 11S 116



22, Japanese Wheel with Thunder Drums. . : 23. The Ka’abah at Mekkab . . .

24. Whirling Dervish, Cairo . .

5. Bronze Wheel, found at Colchester

26, Bronze Wheel, found at Hounslow i : 27. Wheel with Charms attached, found in Swiss Lake-Dwellings 28. Golden Wheel Ornament, found at Mycenae .

29. Bronze Wheel, found at Mycenac

go. Lead Wheel, found at Hissarlik .

gi. Coins of Lucterius . 2 . Fi 2, Wheel with Alpha and Omega on an ‘nscelpuion in the

53. 34 35- 36. 37. 38. 39- 40.


rs »

43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48.

Hauran - . . . . Seater, or Saturn . . . ‘The Wheel-God, France . . : The Wheel-God, France . . . Wheel, France . : . . , Bronze Figure with Wheel, Chatelet, a : . Figure with Wheel, Sculpture, Treves . . Colossal Statue of Wheel-God, Séguret, France Le Dieu Gaulois av Marteau, Vienne, France Lui-Shin, the Chinese God of Thunder .

» Altar with Wheel and Thunderbolt, Nismes, France

Double Disc and Sceptre, Scotland

Double Disc and Sceptre, Scotland . Sculpture from Lower Monastery at Nuttu, Eusofzai Sculpture from the Upper Monastery at Nuttu, Eusofzai . The Buddhist Wheel of Life : Throne of Fath Ali Shah, Teheran


238 240 243 243 244 244 245





29, go. 3. 32


35+ 36. 37+ 38. 39- 40. 4t

43 a4. 45. 46. 47. 48.

. The Ka’abab at Mekkah .

Japanese Wheel with Thunder Drums

Whirling Dervish, Cairo . e 2

. Bronze Wheel, found at Colchester

Bronze Wheel, found at Hounslow « Wheel with Charms attached, found in Swiss aie Dechings Golden Wheel Ornament, found at Mycenae

Bronze Wheel, found at Mycenac

Lead Wheel, found at Hissarlik .

Coins of Lucterius

Wheel with Alpha and Omer on an tscrptiod in the Hauran 2

Seater, or Saturn . 4 The Wheel-God, France Z The Wheel-God, France 7 Wheel, France . . . . . Bronze Figure with Wheel, ChAtelet, France Figure with Wheel, Sculpture, Treves Colossal Statue of Wheel-God, Séguret, France Le Dicu Gaulois au Marteau, Vienne, France Lui-Shin, the Chinese God of Thunder

. Altar with Wheel and Thunderbolt, Nismes, France.

Double Disc and Sceptre, Scotland

Double Disc and Sceptre, Scotland . Sculpture from Lower Monastery at Nuttu, Evsofzai Fi Sculpture from the Upper Monastery at Nuttu, Eusofzai . The Buddhist Wheel of Life .

Throne of Fath Ali Shah, Tcheran

239 24) 243 243 244 244 245


Athenian Stranger... . the soul then directs all things in heaven, and earth, and sea by her movemenis, . . . If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred Inws, then, as Je plain, (we mut any that the Lest soul takes enre of the world and guides It along the good

Cleinias. Troe.

Ath, Bot if the world moves wildly and irregularly, then the evil soul guides it. |. . Of these two kinds of motion, that which’ moves in one place must move about a centre like globes made in a lathe, and is most entirely akin and similar to the clreular movement of mind.

Cle, ‘What do you mean?

Ath. In saying that both mind and the motion which is in one place move in the same and like manner, in and about the same, and in relation to the same, and according to one proportion and order, and are like the motion of a globe, we have invented a fair imnge, which does no discredit to our ingenuity.

Cle, It does us great credit.

Ath, And the motion of the other sort which is not after the same manner, nor in the same, nor about the same, nor in relation to the samu, nor in one place, nor in order, nor according to any rule or proportion, may be said to be akin to sensetess- ness and folly.

Cle, That is most true,

Ath. Then, after what has been said, there is no difficulty in distinetly stating that since soul carries all things round, either the best soul or the contrary must of necessity curry round and order and arrange the revolution of the heaven.

Cle. And judging by what has been said, Stranger, there would be impiety in asserting that any but the most perfect soul or souls carries round the heavens.

Pinto, Laws, Jowett’s translation, x. 897.



Tue Buddhist Praying-Wheel”—-the name by which this instrument of worship is known—has been looked upon by most writers as a strange freak of superstition, and as being quite exceptional as a form of ritualism. Carlyle, with an air of contempt, defined it as the “Rotatory Calabash.” Travellers have generally talked of the grinding of prayers in a mill as a good subject for jokes. No one appears to have applied himself to study or comprehend this particular form of worship, so very little seems to be known about it. It so chanced that ] spent the hot seasons of 1860 and 1861 in the Himalayas, and in both years I passed over the boundary into Tibet, visited the Lamaseries, and made sketches of the so-called Praying-Wheels. I also bought one of the small hand-cylinders, and learned the proper manner of using it. On my return home I gave some atten- tion to the subject, and discovered that the name Praying-Wheel was a misnomer ; and my investiga- tions led me to the conclusion that the circular move- ment was symbolical of the solar motion,—or it might be of the great celestial rotation as it appears above. This result completely changed the whole aspect of


the subject. I also saw the similarity of the circular movement of the wheel with circular movements in ritual and custom in India and other parts of the world, and particularly with the Celtic dezsu/. I was then led to write an article on the subject, which appeared in Good Words for December 1867; and, so far as my knowledge goes, this was the first effort that had been made to work out the meaning of the Praying-Wheel, and its conclusions have now been fully confirmed.

Since then, in travelling and in reading, I have made notes of whatever seemed to be related to this subject, and the following pages are the result. No pretence shall be assumed on my part that this is an exhaustive treatment; on the contrary, it must be understood that the matter given here is only what I have chanced to come upon. There are many blanks that have yet to be filled in, and I have no doubt that others will accomplish this, who may take up the subject in the future. This, I feel sure, will be done, because the circular movements are intimately related to many questions in comparative mythology; and they are also closely connected with the field of inquiry to which the students of Folk-Lore are direct- ing their attention. My own hope is that what is here given will be found to be at least an interesting chapter in the history and development of one form of ritualism and custom,

My acknowledgments are due to many friends for kindly assistance in this work. My thanks are speci- ally owing to M. Henri Gaidoz, Directeur 4 I'Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris, His work, Le Diex Gaulois du Soleil, et le Symbolisme de la Roue, treats most ably on one branch of the subject in which my


opportunities of acquiring knowledge have been of the slightest ; and I am indebted to him for permission to make any use of the valuable information his book contains, and also for the advantage of copying some of his illustrations, which it will be found I have freely availed myself of. I can recommend the production of M. Gaidoz to those who wish to study the particu- lars of the subject more fully, because he has dealt in a much more complete manner with the symbolism of the wheel in Western Europe than I have done. | may at the same time express my satisfaction in find- ing an ally in this savant, who has arrived independ- ently at conclusions so similar to my own upon the solar symbolism of the wheel. I also owe thanks to Miss Gordon Cumming, who placed some of her drawings at my disposal. This lady, it ought to be mentioned, has in her travels collected a large amount of information on the wheel and its symbolism, Professor Rhys Davids, from whom I have taken several extracts, has aided me with his counsel and help in some Sanscrit words; and has also most kindly read over and corrected the proofs of the Buddhist and Brahmanical portions of these pages, which is in itself a guarantee that that portion of the work is not likely to contain any very serious blunder in it. Dr. A. S. Murray and Dr. Budge of the British Museum have also assisted me by answering ques- tions and supplying information. Robert Brown junior was at considerable trouble in writing to me about the Greek Chorus,—on which I have not ventured to say much, as it would require one better informed on the matter than myself. This is one of the blanks that has yet to be filled in,—to which I would also add dancing in general. The Rev. Dr. A. Léwy, with


his almost inexhaustible stores of knowledge of his own people, has been most kind in giving me inform- ation about the Jews. Dr. Chaplain was so obliging as to write to Jerusalem to one of his many friends there about some details; and the answer, written I think by a Jew, is given in the Additional Notes. I am indebted to the Rev. Richard Conway for his valuable assistance in relation to the rites of the Latin Church.

I have many friends to thank that I have troubled with questions; the curious thing being—what I have found in my own case—how uncertain after years, in some instances even months, the mind becomes about small details. My questions have generally been about the particular direction of turning movements, and the difficulty has been for the memory to recall with certainty how the movement took place. If errors of fact on points such as these should chance to have crept in to what I have recorded, I can only assure the reader it has been from no absence of desire on my part to be accurate.

It was only when the sheets of this work were going through the press that a friend called my attention to the passage from Plato which fronts the beginning of this Introduction. The words are placed there, because on reading them | felt as if they had been the text which I had been expounding. Let those who chance to read the following pages turn back afterwards to what the great Philosopher has said, and they will then understand how appropriate the passage ‘really is, and how completely he had grasped the theory of the wheel and its symbolism as they have been described in this book.


In the summer of 1860 being at Simla, I, with a friend, started for Chini, a village in the Sutlej valley, about sixteen marches inland among the hills. The attractions of this place were the fine view of the snowy range, and the escape from the rains, which are usually very heavy at Simla in June and August. We remained two months at Chini, and became intimately acquainted with the people. They are of the Aryan type, but polyandry is a custom among them, and their religious rites can scarcely be classed as Brahmanical. Caste does not exist, and everything is rude and primitive in the extreme. We learned that just across the range 5,6 1 sinall hand Praying.

of hills that formed the water- Wheel,

shed on the right bank of the Sutlej, the people there are known as Sof dog, or Tibetans; this means that


they are Turanian, or Mongolian, in type; and that among them we should find Lamas and nuns, and see their monasteries, Praying-Wheels, and whatever belonged to their peculiar system. An excursion of a few days enabled us to see the villages of Leepee and Kanum ; and luckily we found in these places all that we expected. For a couple of rupees I was able to buy a small hand Praying-Wheel (Fig. 1), and the Lama initiated me into the proper way of turning it, and the right use of the Mantra during the performance. This was my first contact with Buddhism, and the beginning of my knowledge of the Dharma-Chakra, or Praying-Wheel.

1 spent next summer in the Himalayas, and arranged to pass through that part of Tibet known as Ladak, going over the high passes to the Indus, and returning by way of Kashmir. Starting from Mus- soorie 1 went to the sources of the Ganges and the Jumna ; then crossed over the Roopin Pass,—which is 15,000 feet above the sea,—into the Buspa Valley, crossed the Sutlej near Chini, and went on to Leepee, where I had been the previous season; the route led through Kanum, and on to Soonum.

As I entered the village, my ear caught the sound of a bell tinkling at regular intervals; there was some difficulty in climbing up to a window, through which I had an obscure glimpse of a large cylinder and a solitary monk sitting turning it, every turn causing the bell to sound. The place was a monastery, and..1 had some trouble in finding my way in, but at last I gained admittance, and made a sketch of the room, including the cylinder and the monk, The cylinder might be about nine feet in height and four feet in diameter, with an iron spindle


at each end; on the lower one there was a crank to which a string was attached, and by-simply pulling this the machine went slowly round. It was gaudily painted with many bright colours, in which ornaments and Tibetan letters formed the designs; the walls of the room were also decorated with paintings of Buddhist figures (see Frontispiece). In addition to these there was a large figure modelled in plaster and painted with many colours, the name of which 1 learned, was Tchaypungmay. A piece of red cloth, the same as‘the Lamas wear, was hung over its shoulders, partly like a robe and partly like a shawl. The monk who was turning the wheel wore the usual red dress of the Lamas in that locality, yellow being the colour in other parts of Tibet. Yellow is the colour worn in Ceylon and China, and it was the colour in India. The old accounts of converting new regions to Buddhism describe the success of the missionaries by saying that “the land glittered with the yellow robes.” The followers of the Dalai-Lama and the Tashi-Lama wear the yellow dress, which is distinctive of the sect known as Gelukpas ; while the red dress is the costume of the Dukpas, and their spiritual head is the Dharma Rajah.

The Lama who was moving the wheel did not seem to be annoyed at my rather unceremonious entrance ; on the contrary, he appeared to be pleased at his operations being taken notice of. It so chanced that I had some coins in my pocket, and on presenting him with some of these his delight seemed to be great. Native coins are, or were at that time, rough, un-_ shapely pieces of copper very rudely stamped. Those I had given him were the Coompany-ke-pice,” from the Government mint, and they had the Queen's


head on them as perfect as on our money at home. As the man, in that out-of-the-way spot, had per- haps never seen such objects before, he gazed with an expression of surprise and wonder upon them, and my guess at the moment was that he took the head of Her Majesty for a Devi, or goddess. So deep was his interest, he forgot to keep the Precious Wheel of the Law” in motion. After a close inspection he wrapped them up carefully in a part of his dress, and commenced to turn the wheel. That did not con- tinue long, for he stopped it again, unrolled the coins to gaze upon them once more. When I left he was sitting looking at them with evident delight. The probability is that the coins would be placed on one of their altars, and that the Queen would become, in that Lamasery at least, a Buddhist deity, and receive suitable adoration. 1 was led to this conclusion after- wards from what I saw in other temples, where I found that European articles had been picked up by the monks and placed among their figures of gods on their shrines. In one temple I saw two brandy bottles so honoured ; and in a monastery at Lamayuru the monks pointed with pride to a gin bottle on their altar, which they seemed to prize highly from the label, which shone in gold and bright colours, and pro- minent upon it were the figure of a cat and the words “Old Tom.”

Later in the day 1 found another temple in the same village with three large cylinders, all of them somewhat similar to the first. On the outside of the temple there was a long row of small cylinders, each about the size of an oyster-barrel; those were placed in the wall at such a height that any one in passing could turn them with the hand. At the


monastery of Hemis, near Leh, I saw a similar row of cylinders. It was at Soonum I saw for the first time these’ cylinders turned by means of water-power. A rude erection had been made over the stream with recesses to hold three barrels; one was empty, the wheel in another was out of order and motionless,

Fic, 2,—Praying-barrels propelled by water-wheels, at Soonam, From a Sketch by the Author. : but the third went steadily on, revolving day and night. Those cylinders were a little over three feet in height, and the wooden axle was continued down- wards, and pieces of wood were fixed to it, pro- ducing a horizontal paddle-wheel, and the water dashing on it caused the circular motion. In front was the place where the villagers took their water for


domestic purposes, and it is a probable conjecture tha it acquired some special virtue from having turned the “Precious Wheel” (see Fig. 2).

It was some marches after that before I chanced to see another of the uses to which the wheel could be applied. We had passed Dunker, and were at the last village before passing the Parung Law, one of the highest passes in the Himalayas, being 19,000 ft. above the sea. The place was named Kiwar; there two men appeared, I assumed they were itinerant Lamas that had come out on a begging trip. They had a small box which held some brass cups, and a small brass figure of Shakya-Thubba, as they call Buddha. Those were placed on the top of the box, so as to form a simple altar, and two or three pictures were hung upon the wall behind." One of the men had a mask on his face made of a black coloured cloth, ornamented with cowrie shells. He had a pair of cymbals, which he clashed as he danced before the altar. The other man had a strange head -dress formed of strips of coloured cloth that partly covered his face. He stood by the altar with a small Praying- Wheel in his hand, which he kept turning, and at the same time, in a low monotonous voice, he muttered what I took to be prayers, or the words of some kind of religious service, in which I could often hear the sentence--"Aum! Mani Padme, hung!” This is the Mantra of the Praying-Wheel, and will be explained further on. The villagers made offerings in the form of grain, which was laid down in front of the altar.

After crossing the Parung Law we came to the Tchoomoreree Lake, the surface of which is about 15,000 feet above the sea. At this great altitude there were no houses or villages, but at one end of


the lake there was, at a place called Korzok, a large

Lamasery, with about forty Lamas in it. I made

some sketches in that place, and as the use of the

wheel there was like what I saw in other monasteries, a description of it will serve for all. These estab- lishments are not remarkable for cleanliness, neither are the Lamas, They have very long services, so tea is served out to them. Tea in Tibet is a very different concoction from what it isin Europe. I have seen it made by our Tibetan coolies in camp. A large pot is put on the fire—a teapot it may be called, of course, but not in our sense of that word; it was a large iron pot, such as soup would be prepared in. In this tea is made, with butter or grease of some kind, and a few vegetables are added, if they can be procured, so that it is in reality a kind of thin soup. Each man in this region carries a small wooden bowl, somewhere in his bosom—that is, between his dress and his skin—and this vessel is brought out whenever tea has to be taken. At the Korzok monastery I had a serious trial to undergo that had not been calculated upon. The Lamas were at their service, which was a long one, and a younger brother came round with a supply of tea for them. As I was sitting sketching among them they wished to be polite, and one of the cups was produced, most probably from its usual receptacle, and some of the tea was poured into it for me. These Lamas had been so kind and genial in every way, I felt it would have been very bad manners to have refused the offered beverage. All the details given above were perfectly well known to me, and to accept the bowl and put it to my lips required some resolution, but I did it, and managed to look pleased after accomplishing it.


The temple in most of these Lamaseries has a recess or apse at one end, in which is placed a figure of Shakya-Thubba, or Buddha, or of some Bodhi- satva; and a large opening in the roof allows the principal light of the place to fall upon it and the altar, which stands in front. The Lamas sit in two lines, one on each side of the building. Each Lama has a small desk or stool, on which the books with the service are placed. They have drums, cymbals, and long trumpets. These last are of brass, and very long, as much as seven or eight feet in length. They rest on two low stands, the mouthpiece being close to the Lama that uses it; and at the part of the service when its music is required he lifts the one end only and performs. The service is in printed books, which are in form like those of Ceylon—that is, the leaves are a series of long strips, enclosed within two boards and tied with a string. In Ceylon the leaves are the dried leaves of a plant, and books are written; whereas in Tibet paper is in use, and books are printed—from blocks, I presume, as in China, There are three highly-ritualistic instruments which are used by the Lamas. At this time, so long after my visit among them, I do not feel sure whether every monk had them, or if it was only some of those that may have held higher rank. The first of these is a small hand-bell ; these are of brass, and ornamented with Buddhist symbols. What signification they attached to this article I did not learn. It is not peculiar to the Buddhists ; almost every Hindu temple has one. They are carved on Hindu architecture, and the Bull, Nandi, the wadaa of Siva, is always represented with one hanging by a cord or chain round his neck. Itisa very ancient symbol, but I have never as yet heard any


suggestion as to its origin or meaning. The Lamas call it Drilou, and it is rung repeatedly at different parts of the service. The second article is called in Tibetan a Dorjé, and has been described as a “‘sceptre” (see Fig. 3). It is understood to be the same as the vajra, or “thunderbolt,” of the Brahmans, which is the trisuda, or trident, and is the sceptre of Siva,—temples of Siva have the trident placed upon the sttAara or spire.” The Tibetan Dovj¢ does not at first sight suggest any resemblance to the trident, but it is in reality a group of two or four tridents combined, and as the outer prongs come round and meet at the point of the central one, the whole has somewhat the appearance of a crown. That this is a correct ex- planation, I have a sufficient evidence in possessing a Buddhist Dovj¢ in which the prongs are not repeated, and it is simply a trident. Both ends of the instrument, which is about six inches long, and made of brass, have the prongs, and the space between is the handle by which it is held, which is done repeatedly during the service. What those Lamas understood as the meaning of holding this sceptre in their hands at particular times my want of the language prevented me from learning. The connec- tion of the wheel and the thunderbolt is a very

Fie. 3.—Dorjé, or Vajra,

1 Dritbu, a co bell,” Cunning- as the fleurde-fis, which is supposed

ham’s Ladaé, p. 1 The Trista: oe Trident, is a very ancient symbol, and appears to have been known in most partsof the Eastern world. There are also symbols which bear @ strong resemblance to it, such

to have been brought from the Enst A considerable collection of these forms will be found in a paper on the “Trisula Symbol," which I read to the Royal Asiatic Society, amd published in the Journal for 1890, p. 299.


curious one, and as it is found in other places, it will be often referred to again in these pages.

The third ritualistic instrument is what I have, in the meantime, called the Praying-Wheel”; and the description of which will be given further on. It lay on the desk before the Lama, along with the Driléxu and Doryé, and was at times taken up and whirled round. I often noticed that while the Wheel was turned in the right hand, the Dory¢ was held in the left. Sometimes none of the three articles would be used, but they would lie on the desk for some time. Not being able to follow the service, it was impossible for me to understand why or when the performance with them was necessary. So far it may be explained that, according to the Buddhist doctrine of Karma, or good works, the more a wheel is turned, the more Karma, or merit, is acquired by the person who causes it to turn; and from this it may be assumed that in the case of the cylinders propelled by water-wheels, the constant turning would add to the merit of those connected with their erection. The doctrine of Karma, which is so prominent in Buddhist teaching, thus explains the motive in the mind of the person turning the wheel, but the symbolism belong- ing to it is a separate matter, and has yet to be dealt with,

The villagers in some instances use the wheel. This I know from a man who at one place came to my camp, and while I sketched him he sat turning his hand-cylinder. As this was the only one I saw, my impression is that few of the laity—if that is the right term to apply to the non-Lama part of the population— are in the habit of using the small hand ones, but then there are larger ones erected in many cases for what


may be supposed to be public use. In the village of Kalsi, on the Indus, there was a Chhod-Ten—the Tibetan form of the Indian sttipa—in the base of which there were two cylinders, about three or four feet in height; those were for the villagers to turn with their hands when they chanced to pass (see Fig. 4).

Fic. 4.—Praying-Barrels at Kalsi, on the Indus. From a Sketch Ly the Author.

The row of small barrels at Soonum I have already described ; and I saw a similar row in the Hemis monastery, on the Indus, near Leh, which was no doubt intended to be turned by all those that chanced to pass, whether monks or laymen (Fig. 5).

The only other place where I saw a wheel turned by water-power was at Ghia (see Fig. 6); that one, by some arrangement, gave a click at every turn.


My tent chanced to be near, and on going to bed I could hear it. I fell asleep listening to the click, and it was the first sound I heard again in the morning when I wakened. I add an illustration of another wheel at Ghia, in which I could only see the water-

Srey. etme 6

Fic. §,—Praying-wheels in the Hemis Lamasery, on the Indus. Frum a Sketch by the Author,

wheel beneath (see Fig. 7). It was not my fortune to see wheels driven by windmills. Huc, if I remember right, mentions them; and Bonvalot, one of the latest travellers in Tibet, saw them... It seems to be a matter of no consequence by what means these cylinders are turned ; the Karma can be realised if only

1 Across Thibet, by Gabriel Bonvalot, vol. ii. p. 143.


the circular motion can be produced. In some cases the hot air from fires is thus utilised. Huc says that “the Tartars suspend them over the fireplace. . . the movement itself is effected by the thorough draught occasioned by the openings at the top of the tent.”* To this may be added the statement of the Rev. James Gilmour, a missionary, who spent a good many

Fic, 6,—Praying-Barrel at Ghia, Front a Skeich by the Author.

years among the Mongols. In describing Wu T'ai Shan, a great place of pilgrimage, he visited one of the important Lamas, and in his room, near the ceil- ing, just above the charcoal fire, hung a paper cylinder, like an inverted wheel of life, which kept constantly turning, That was also a praying-wheel, and was kept in motion by the hot air ascending from the fire.”? It

1 Travel in Tartary, Thibet, and James Gilmour,M.A.,p. 147. Gilmour China, by M, Hue, vol. i. chap. ix. describes @ tope at Wu T’ai Shan, and 2 Among the Mongols, by the Rev. round its base ‘were mounted more


is evident from these examples that, if smoke-jacks could be introduced into Tibet, they would be highly prized in every household as a means of acquiring Karma.

In February 1894, Mr. W. Woodville Rockhill gave an account of his travels through Tibet to the Royal Geographical Society. In describing some Tibetans near Kokonor, he says: “. . . The family sleep on a Chinese dang, or stone bed, headed by a big Tibetan cooking-stove where the tea-cauldron

Fic, 7.—Praying-Wheel at Ghia. From a Sketch by the Author.

boils, and over which is a prayer-wheel turning in the heated air as it escapes through a big hole in the roof.""! And further he adds,— And below the house, in a log hutch built over the brook, a big prayer-barrel is kept turning ever by the water as it dashes by.”* Another peculiar form of this ritualistic machine is avery large cylinder filled with books—books of prayer, or religious works, we may suppose. These wheels

than three hundred praying-wheels, 1 The Geographical Journal, May which the worshippers set in motion 1894, yiek 38 3+ one owe, ater the other as they passed

round, p. 146,


are in temples, and visitors turn them as a religious performance. Miss Gordon Cumming saw and sketched some of thtse in Japan. That lady calls them Scrip- ture-Wheels,"—“ circulating libraries” might be sug- gested as a good name for them,—and describes a very striking one she saw in the Asakusa temple at Tokio* (see Fig. 20). Mr. Gilmour saw one at Wu T’ai Shan, which he states was ‘‘ about sixty feet high, containing shrines, images, books, and prayers.” This one was so large, and had such a weight in it to move, that “two or three thgether go down to the cellar, lay hold on the hand-spokes, and with a Jong pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together, round goes the wheel.”* According to his account, those who turn this ponderous cylinder believe that they acquire as much merit by the act as if they read all the books, repeated the prayers, and knocked their heads on the ground before all the gods whose images are enshrined in the wheel. Mr. Gilmour is probably quite right in thus describing the thoughts of those who go through such performances ; but Dr. Edkins gives an explanation of these ponderous Scrip- ture-Wheels, which is much more in keeping with the original Buddhist ideas on the subject. He quotes a Chinese phrase—‘' Fa-/un-ch'ang-chwen, ‘The Wheel of the Law constantly revolves.’ This refers to the unceasing proclamation by books and monks of the doctrines of Shakyamuni. The metaphor by which Buddhist preaching is called the revolving of the wheel is seen practically exemplified in the Praying-wheels of Mongolia, by the turning of which an accumulation of merit is obtained. So in China, the whole Buddhist library of several thousand volumes is placed in a large

1 The description and sketches of Scribner's Monthly, September 1881,

these Scripture-Wheels appesred in p. 733. 3 Ameng the Alongois, p. 146,


octagonal revolving bookcase, which is pushed round at the instance of the visitor.” Dr. Edkins also mentions the great wheel at Wu T’ai Shan: ‘“ The Chinese copy of the Gangur is inside it. The visitor sees the whole vast Wheel turning slowly from east to west. All praying-wheels turn in the direction in which the sun moves.”* The subject of this last sentence forms an important principle in connec- tion with the wheel, which will be dealt with as we proceed,

Gerard mentions that in the monastery of Soong- num,—Soonum, where I sketched the large Praying- Wheel, but unfortunately I did not chance to see the one Gerard describes—there is at that place a library of books, procured from Lhasa at a cost of 500 rupees. * At stated periods the Gelongs and Lamas assemble to read them ; and on grand days there is exhibited an iron stand of five squares, one above the other, taper- ing to the top, which is illuminated with one hundred and eight lamps, and is made to revolve in the same direction as the cylinders.” This description is not very definite, but it may be assumed that he means the books are placed on the stand and revolve with it.

It will convey some idea of the extent to which these Wheels are in use if we quote again from Mr. Gilmour’s interesting book a description he gives of them on his visit to Urga in Mongolia, “In these temple premises, and at many street corners and busy places, are erected numerous Praying-Wheels, supposed to be filled inside, many of them decorated outside, and some of them almost literally covered all round,

\ Chinese Budihiom, by the Rev. Wheelat the Vung-bo-King in Peking; Joseph Edkins, D.D., p. 26 and that there was another in the

2 Religion in China, ‘catsup 238. Ling-yin monastery at Hangchow before Dr. Edkios also mentions a similar the time of the Taiping rebellion.


with prayers, the idea being that any devout believer who turns the wheel, by so doing acquires as much merit as if he or she had repeated al} the prayers thus set in motion, These praying-cylinders seem to be seldom left at rest. In the quiet deserted-looking precincts of the temple may be heard the creaking of the rusty spindle, as it is turned in the unoiled socket by worshippers, who most likely have come from the country to perform their devotions at this great religious centre, Many, both Lamas and laymen, male and female, as they pass along the streets, lay hold of the inviting handle and give a turn to such praying- machines as they find standing in their path.”*

The following is from Bonvalot’s book ; it refers to a monastery towards the south-eastern border of Tibet, thus showing how widespread the Praying- ‘Wheel is in that region :—“ The principal attraction of the Dotou-Lama house is a series of prayer-mills. Beneath a gallery running almost entirely round the house are