New technology added to the prayer wheel in the Santa Cruz Mountains
BOULDER CREEK – Inside a nearly completed 10-foot-tall prayer wheel, housed in a 7th-century Tibetan mandala-inspired house in the remote lands of the Santa Cruz Mountains, lives a much more modern concept.
Wrapped around the inside of the wheel are reels of emerging technology that leaders of the Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Cultivation describe as a “nano film” devised by an Indonesian monk. When complete, the wheel – designed specifically to hold 18 pounds of weight – will contain 1,500 rolls of nano film and a total of over 3 quadrillion (that’s 3,000 trillion) mini mantras of great compassion.
“We are not building this prayer wheel, we are not building it for ourselves. We are building this for others,” said Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Cultivation co-founder Tom Waggoner, who is the project manager for the new prayer wheel. “For us to be fulfilled in our business, people will come, they will see this prayer wheel. It will be an inspiration to them and they will use this prayer wheel to help them in their own spiritual development. It is our wish. »
Wagoner said there are many ways for the public to interact with the new prayer wheel. Visitors willing to drive approximately 50 minutes north of the city of Santa Cruz, largely along Kings Creek Road off Highway 9, may choose to donate to help complete the project, come spin the wheel, look to it for its architectural design, admire its artistry or enjoy its spiritual qualities, he said.
On September 10, the institute will hold a 24-hour prayer wheel spinning event, which the public is invited to watch and participate in. For more information, visit vajrapani.org online.
“It will resonate with people on different levels, depending on their disposition,” Wagoner explained.
Describing himself as an “old hippie” who came of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wagoner was among those who found ways to “turn on, plug in, drop off,” as demanded at the time, counterculture icon Timothy Leary.
“What we wanted to do was build a retreat center,” Wagoner said. “People had experiences at that time looking at the philosophy and using the methodology to look at it and we find it was life changing. And they wanted to give that to others. This offering is Vajrapani.
The Vajrapani Institute, a Tibetan Buddhist retreat center, was founded in 1977 with the donation of 30 acres of vacant land adjoining Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Within five years, the property was expanded to 75 acres, dotted with stupas, retreat huts and meditation areas, through subsequent land acquisition.
The center has attracted Tibetan Buddhist luminaries over its decade-plus existence, even securing a visit in 1989 from the Dalai Lama, about a week after he was named a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
According to the organization’s website, the Vajrapani Institute is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, an international non-profit organization “dedicated to transmitting the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values throughout the world. through teaching, meditation and community service”.
Wagoner described the importance of a prayer wheel with many mantras inside as both an opportunity for public awareness and education, as well as a spiritual good. He compared a prayer to a hydroelectric plant, which generates electricity using dam water, a generator and a turbine with copper coils inside.
“So when you turn the wheel, you are like water. You turn that wheel and the nano-mantras in there are now like the copper coils that are inside (the turbine),” Wagoner said. “So the more copper coils there are in there, the more vital electrical energy you supply to more and more people.”