A Tribute To The Prayer Box

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The Tibetan Gao Prayer Box

The major religion in Tibet is Buddhism.  Followers of Tibetan Buddhism make use of a type of prayer box known as a Gao (sometimes spelled "Gau" or "Ghau").  Gao amulets are also found in Nepal, Mongolia and Bhutan.  Most are made of silver, but gold, brass and other metals may also be used.  An ornate patten is usually engraved on the box, as well. 

The gao is used within this tradition as an amulet - a ritualistic object believed to provide protection from evil.   A gao box is often embedded with semi-precious or precious stones or coral.  Turquoise and red coral are especially favored in the design of Tibetan prayer boxes.  Other gems used often by the Tibetan silversmith are amber, lapis lazuli carnelian, garnets, amethyst, and even rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

The gao is usually worn around the neck and hung close to the heart.  Within it is placed a scroll upon which is written or printed a prayer or sacred symbol.  These scrolls are typically prepared and blessed by a Buddhist priest.  In this use, the gao is not unlike a transportable shrine. In lieu of a prayer, the gao might also be used as a container for holding herbs, stones or other objects believed to have protective powers.

The Tibetan Buddhist might also place an image of Buddha or other deity inside the prayer box.  A gao might even be designed with an opening that allows the person to view the image throughout the day.  Alternatively, a cast form of the deity may ornate the surface of the gao.  

Prayer Box With Turquoise


On Prayer

"One single grateful thought raised to heaven is the most perfect prayer."

G. E. Lessing
German Dramatist
(1729 - 1781)


"Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action."

"Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart."

Mahatma Gandhi
Indian Philosopher

"Prayer is an important practice that serves to internalize the ideals of the Buddhist path."

G. R. Lewis
Buddhist Faith
Fellowship Founder


"Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of himself. "

Mother Teresa
(1910 - 1997)

"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."

Rev. Martin Luther King
Minister and Civil Rights Leader
(1929 - 1968)

"No prayer is complete without presence." 

Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
Persian Sufi Mystic 

"In prayer, it is better to have heart without words, than words without heart."

John Bunyan
Puritan Minister and Writer

"Our prayers must mean something to us if they are to mean anything to God."

Maltbie Davenport Babcock
Presbyterian Minister and Poet