Prayer in the 21st Century

Photo courtesty of Robert Correia Jr.

In “Activating Prayers: Textual landscapes of the Tibetan Buddhist diaspora,” an essay on Tibetan culture that we believe serves as a much-needed counterperspective to Groupon’s Super Bowl gaucheGLIMPSE contributor Christine McCarthy Madsen explores the importance of the written word in Tibetan Buddhism. For ages, their prayers have been communicated through prayer wheels, flags, books, and their methods don’t shy away from the digital age:

Early forms of digital media share the same spinning quality of prayer wheels, even the same clockwise direction. Taking this to the next step, rumours abound on the Internet that the Dalai Lama himself has said that having a digital prayer wheel—or even just the text of the mantra om mani padme hum on your spinning hard drive—is the same as using a traditional prayer wheel. From this idea, copious animated GIF files, computer applets, gadgets, and widgets have appeared to fulfill the practice of setting text into motion with the greatest ease.

Madsen’s article appears in GLIMPSE issue #7, Text. To read more of the article, and to see more stunning photographs of the region taken by photographer Robert Correia Jr., visit

Allison Nonko


2 thoughts on “Prayer in the 21st Century

    • Richard, thank you for catching this. Despite four different people proofing the article (all of whom know the correct spelling of “Dalai”), including the author, we all missed the error. Your keen eye helped us avoid the same error in the print version of the article. Many thanks.

      The GLIMPSE team

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