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How to use your Tibetan Buddhist Mala

How to use your Tibetan Buddhist Mala

Recite one mantra; move your thumb and forefinger along the next bead of the strand; then repeat.

The Tibetan Buddhist mala, or beaded rosary, aids the practitioner in counting mantra recitations while also helping one to focus concentration and awareness. As one works the mala's beads with one's fingers, recites the mantra and visualizes the deity, one is at once involving the body, speech and mind.

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.


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The legends surrounding the life of the Buddha have been the principal sources of inspiration for the creators of Buddhist Jewelry & Buddhist Art. A knowledge of these are needed for a meaningful insight into the nuances of Buddhist art, since each stage of the Buddha's many existences, along with the established tenets of buddhism religion, play a part in the development of the Tibet Buddhist Jewelry and art. The Buddha Jewelry, Buddhist Jewelry, Buddha statues, and the diverse buddha paintings illustrate the deep influence of buddhism on buddha art and vice versa.

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