How to use mala?
A buddhist mala usually contains the 108 prayer beads, spacers, beaded counters and bum counter. New starters usually ask me for the using of the mala. Please look at the following picture. Let's study it.
1. The 108 prayer beads represent 108 times of the recitation of the buddhist mantra words. Usually we use spacers to mark the mala as Four parts, each part 27 beads. Also sometimes we use space beads to make a mala long enough for wrist wearing or neck wearing.
2. When pass a bead by left hand, recite one time of the mantra words, then continue the next bead. No need to recite the mantra when pass the space beads. The space beads only help you understand how many beads you passed.
3. After passed ome time of the 108 prayer beads, then you recite 108 times of the mantra words. Usually, we ignore the 8 times. So it represents you finish reciting 100 times of the mantra words. Then, we move a bead on the right beaded counter to the upper side. Then, we continue the second 100 time of resitation of the mantra words. After finsih the second time recitation, move the second bead on the right bead counter to the upper side. Then contine the 3rd time, the 4th...10th. After finish the 10th time recitation, you moved all the beads on the right counter to the upper side. Then you need move one bead of the left counter to the upper side. Meanwhile, put all the beads of the right counter back to the bottom. Then repeat all the action, till you moved all the beads of the left counter to the upper side. Then, it represent you finish 1,000 times of reciting the mantra words. Then Move the bum counter to the next bead. Then repeat all the action. After you move the bum counter bead to bead, and finish moving it 108 times, it represent you finish recitation of the mantra words 108,000 times. We ignore the 8000 times. And say we finish 100,000 recitations.
4. A mala is a tool for helping us reciting buddhist mantra words. Also a blessed mala has strong power to protect us, keep us a clean, calm heart; to drive evils. We need keep the malas carefully with mala bags. Do not make the malas in any chemical linquid, or put them in dirty places.
What is a Buddhist Mala?
Buddhist prayer mala or beads is use for counting scared mantra (prayers). The main perspective of buddhist prayer mala beads is to drive away evil and fill you and all beings with peace and bliss. The best use of buddhist prayer mala beads is for the recitation of mantra. These buddhist prayer mala beads is used during a period of recitation, like "Om Mani Padme Hum". Use of Buddhist prayer mala beads with the intention to bring greater happiness, joy, loving-kindness and serenity into the world. It will be the source of deep blessings in our life. Buddhist literature roughtly means Mala as "Rose" or "Garland". A more direct translation is "garland from above", or "heavenly garland". In accordance with the active nature of practice in Buddhism, this material object is used as an accomplice for gaining merit on the path to enlightenment.
The story of the buddhist prayer mala beads origin is as follows:
Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, paid a visit to king Vaidunya directed him to thread 108 seeds of the Bodhi tree on a string, and while passing them between his fingers to repeat the Hail to the Buddha, the law, and the congregation' (2,000) times a day (Dubin).
Another interpretation of this prayer is om mani padme hum.' During recitation, this phrase is repeated over and over again according to how many beads are on a person's strand of mala beads.
Traditionally, there are 108 beads on a strand of buddhist mala prayer beads. The origin of is the sacred number related astrologically to the 12 astrological houses, multiplied by the 9 planets in our solar system. This number is the buddhist mala prayer beads significant because it represents the number of mental conditions or sinful desires that one must overcome to reach enlightenment or nirvana. Monks usually have mala beads with 108 beads, where as a lay person may have a strand numbering in 30 or 40 beads. This difference in length may possibly be explained by understanding each person's distance traveled on the path to enlightenment. Commercial sellers of mala beads have also suggested that individuals just beginning this prayer ritual begin with a shorter strand of beads.Just as variety exists for the number of beads, variety exists for the style, color, and material composition. Differences in the popularity and use of mala beads also exist cross-culturally. Typically, monks' mala beads are made of wood from the Bodhi tree. In Tibet, mala strands often contain parts of semi-precious stones. In this culture, the most valued strands are made of bones of holy men or lamas. Typically there are 108 beads divided by 3 large beads. The end pieces on these strands are dorje(a thunderbolt) and drilbu(the bell). These end pieces represent the Three Jewels, or Buddha, the doctrine, and the community.?#60;/P>
Although the structure of mala beads may vary among individuals or groups of Buddhists, the overall purpose of all mala beads is to create a sense of tranquility and inner-peace for not only the individual, but for the community as a whole. In reciting the prayer, ‘toxins' will leave and a sense of peace will enter making an individual that much closer to reaching nirvana.
Beside Buddhist prayer beads, wrist malas is also used in buddhism. Writs Malas with 9,22 or 27 beads, sometimes called "power beads" in the press, with development for doing prostration.
Prostration's are performed to purify oneself of karmic obstacles during Ngondro Practice, acknowledging the place and value of the Three Jewels(the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha). Performing prostration's is also a way to open oneself up more deeply to the teaching while cutting through the mind's tendency to habitually ego cling(selfishness, expressed as pride, anger, jealousy, hatred, lust and grasping.) A wrist Mala doesn't dangle or get in the way like a full sized 108 bead version would while going from standing to prostration position.The wrist Mala was created out of necessity to have a more easy to use Mala for prostrations, and for convenience when traveling. Hence, a wrist Mala can be safely held in the hand while doing a period of prostration's. You can imagine how a long necklace or Mala would flop around during prostrating, so wrist Malas are a natural solution to this dilemma.
How to use your Tibetan Buddhist Mala:
Buddhist Malas are used by moving it through your fingers beginning at the first
bead after the Guru bead. Each time you recite one compete mantra you then cross
to the next bead. Once you have gone one round across the Mala and reach the
Guru bead you reverse directions. Most people hold the belief that you do not
cross over the Guru bead as a sign of respect or good attitude of mind towards a
Keep the Buddhist mala off of the ground, as it true with all sacred objects, including books and other ritual instruments of spiritual practice. If the Mala falls on the ground, touch to the crown of your head while reciting, Om Ah Hum, three times. The mala should not be worn while bathing, or allowed to get wet, as this may weaken the cording which many Malas are strung with. It would be wise to remove your buddhist mala before retiring at night or while sleepings, as stress can be exerted on the cording which may cause it to break. Also, the potentially turbulent or negative mental and emotional activity during sleep may affect the Gala's accumulated magnetism.
Some Mala Basics:
The mala is held with gentleness and respect, generally in the left hand. One bead is counted for each recitation of the mantra, beginning with the first bead after the "guru" bead- the larger, more decorative bead at the mala's end. The first bead is held between the index finger and thumb, and with each count the thumb pulls another bead in place over the index finger.
After completing a full circuit of the mala, the practitioner flips the mala around 180 degrees (this takes practice to accomplish) and continues as before, in reverse order. One aims to avoid passing over the "guru" bead, as doing so is symbolically like stepping over one's teacher.
Choosing a Mala
Discover the benefits & healing properties of our Tibetan Buddhist malas.
A mala of 108 beads is used for general purposes by most practicing Tibetan Buddhists. Beads of bodhi seed generally are considered auspicious for any practice or mantra, and red sandalwood or lotus seeds also are widely recommended for universal use.
A variation of the standard 108-bead mala is the wrist mala of 27 beads - four circuits total 108 mantra repetitions.
Besides the multi-purpose malas described above, there are other types of malas that are deemed auspicious for various purposes.
Mantras can be recited for four different purposes: to appease, to increase, to overcome, or to tame by forceful means.
The beads used to count mantras intended to appease should be of crystal, pearl or mother of pearl, and should at least be clear or white in color. A rosary for this purpose should have 100 such beads. Mantras counted on these beads serve to clear away obstacles, such as illness and other calamities, and purify one of unwholesomeness.
The beads used with mantras intended to increase should be of gold, silver, copper or lotus seeds, and a rosary is made of 108 of them. The mantras counted on these serve to increase life span, knowledge and merit.
The beads used with mantras which are intended to overcome are made from a compound of ground sandal wood, saffron and other fragrant substances. There are 25 beads on this rosary. The mantras counted on them are meant to tame others, but the motivation for doing so should be a pure wish to help other sentient beings and not to benefit oneself.
The beads used to recite mantras aiming at subduing beings through forceful means should be made from raksha seeds or human bones in a string of 60. Again, as the purpose should be absolutely altruistic, the only person capable of performing such a feat is a Bodhisattva motivated by great compassion for a being who can be tamed through no other means, for example extremely malicious spirits, or general afflictions, visualized as a dense black ball.