The power of meditation with mala beads (or buddha bracelets) – The Happy Swiss

The power of meditation with mala beads (or buddha bracelets)

In this post I will talk about the following 

  1. What are mala beads?
  2. Choosing mala beads
  3. How to use a mala for meditation 

  1. What are mala beads?

Mala beads (or buddha beads) are traditional tools to count the number of times a mantra is recited. According to buddhist tradition, the beads are counted 108 times. In later years, various Buddhist sects would either retain the number of beads, or divide them into consecutive twos, fours, for brevity or informality. 

So why the number 108? The number 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern religions and traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and connected yoga and dharma based practices. Even the pre-historic monument Stonehenge is 108 feet in diameter. 108 is a number known to be referring to spiritual completion, and it is no surprise that the early Vedic sages were renowned mathematicians and in fact invented our number system.

The material used to make the beads vary according to the purpose of the mantras used. Some beads can be used for all purposes and all kinds of mantras. These beads can be made from the wood of Ficus religiosa (bo or bodhi tree), or from "bodhi seeds", which come from rudraksha.

Another general-purpose mala is made from rattan seeds; the beads themselves called "moon and stars" by Tibetans, and variously called "lotus root", "lotus seed" and "linden nut" by various retailers. The bead itself is very hard and dense, ivory-coloured (which gradually turns a deep golden brown with long use), and has small holes (moons) and tiny black dots (stars) covering its surface.

  1. Choosing mala beads

When choosing a mala, use your intuition first. If a mala appeals to you, it will be the right mala for you at this time. You can also choose a mala based on the intention of your yoga practice. For example, if you feel that you need more grounding and centering on and off the mat, choose a mala made from agate which is a grounding stone.

You can also choose a mala based on its color. If you like the color it is more likely that you will find the opportunity to wear your mala, keep it near you throughout the day, or be happy to see it in your shrine. You can choose a mala based on color if you are also working on your chakras. For example, if you are working on opening your throat chakra, a mala made from blue stones such as turquoise would be perfect, because this stone and color are both excellent for opening the throat chakra.

When buying a mala made from gemstones for healing or chakra therapy, make sure that the mala maker uses a gemstone reference guide.

  1. How to use a mala for meditation

 Using a mala for meditation is simple and enjoyable and helps in getting the best out of your meditation.  

 At the start, you should clarify the intention of your practice and choose your mantra or affirmation. 

  • Find a comfortable space and sit quietly in a lotus position.
  • Close your eyes and observe the speed and depth of your natural breath. Begin to    breathe deeply and bring your focus and attention onto your mantra or affirmation.
  • Hang the first mala bead gently on the middle or ring finger of your right hand. Place your thumb on the guru bead and begin reciting your mantra. At the end of the mantra push the mala bead away with your thumb and move onto the next bead for another round. Continue until you reach a count on 7, 21, 27, or 108.

If you wish to do another round of mantras or affirmations, do not skip over the guru bead. Instead, turn the mala around and move in the opposite direction.

Click on above image to see more pictures of it.

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