How to use tibetan prayer beads

how to use tibetan prayer beads

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To use your mala, hold it with your left hand and begin to recite from the guru bead, clockwise around the mala, using your thumb to move the beads. Count one bead for each recitation of the mantra. The first bead is held between the index finger and thumb, and with each recitation of the mantra move your thumb to pull another bead in place over the index finger. Aug 15, †Ј Hold it in your dominant hand, with the beads draped down between your middle finger and your ring finger. Grab the СguruТ bead, which is the largest bead found at the middle point in the mala. Move the beads. Use your thumb to pull one bead while .

We are often asked how to use a Tibetan mala or Tibetan prayer beads. We hope this blog post will answer some common questions about Tibetan malas. Malas or Tibetan Buddhsit prayer beads are similar to other prayer beads used in various world religions. Malas are used to keep track while one recites, chants, or mentally repeats a mantra or the name or names of a deity.

Malas are used as a tool to how to make a doll trunk count of mantra repetitions. Mantras are spiritual syllables or prayers and are usually repeated many times. Photo courtesy of Olivier Adam. Long malas, as opposed to the shorter wrist malas, have beads.

The summit or head bead is called the guru bead or a sumeru. In Tibetan Buddhism, one mala constitutes recitations of a mantra. There are 8 additional recitations done to ensure proper concentration.

Often the bead malas have additional marker beads that may or may not be counted and that divide the mala into quadrants, constituting counting beads all together. A long Tibetan mala from the Tibetan Nuns Project collection showing the guru bead. The guru bead has how to use tibetan prayer beads stringing holes and here also has a smaller tower-shaped bead that holds the ends of the string.

The guru bead represents the relationship between the student and the guru or spiritual teacher. To use the mala, you start counting from the bead next to the guru bead. When you how to use tibetan prayer beads the guru bead again, it signifies the end of one round in the cycle of mantras. Once you have completed a full circuit of the mala and reached the guru bead again, you reverse direction by flipping your mala. Then you continue again in reverse order.

The mala is held with gentleness and respect, generally in the left hand. To use your mala, hold it with your left hand and begin to recite from the guru bead, clockwise around the mala, using your thumb to move the beads. Count one bead for each recitation of the mantra. The first bead is held between the index finger and thumb, and with each recitation of the mantra move your thumb to pull another bead in place over the index finger. The number is sacred in many Eastern religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

In Tibetan Buddhism malas or rosaries are usually beads plus the guru bead, reflecting the words of the Buddha called in Tibetan the Kangyur in volumes. Malas are sacred objects believed to be charged with the energy of the deity. They should be treated with great reverence.

Photo courtesy of Brian Harris. As with all sacred objects, such as books and other spiritual instruments, one should keep malas off the ground. If your mala accidentally lands on the ground, you should touch it to the crown of your head and recite the sacred syllables Om Ah Humthree times.

The mala should not be worn while bathing, or allowed to get wet, as this may weaken the cord on which the mala beads are strung. It is best to remove your mala before going to sleep so that you do not accidentally stress the cord and break it. The nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute also make and sell mala bags so that malas can be carefully protected. A selection what is n v clinical mala bags made by the how to install surround system at Dolma Ling Nunnery.

Our online store has a wide range of bags made from different fabrics and in different colors. The Tibetan Nuns Project has different kinds of long malaseach hand strung, knotted, and blessed by nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute near Dharamsala in India. Long malas can be worn as a necklace or wrapped around your wrist. By purchasing these malas, you help provide the nuns with food, shelter, education, and health care Ч something you can feel great about every time you use your mala.

The wrist malas are approximately 6 inches 15 cm in diameter and strung on elastic to fit most wrists. Our online store sells dozens of types of wrist and long malas, made of wood, bone, and semi-precious stones like amethyst, garnet, jade, and lapis.

Amethyst is the stone of spirituality and contentment. Garnet enhances internal fire and brings about creative power. Granite helps with balance in relationships, fosters cooperative efforts and facilitates diplomacy. It helps increase wealth while allowing the recipient to remain modest. Jade assists in dream analysis and grants the user a long and fruitful life. It helps with the transition from this body to the spiritual world. Lapis provides objectivity, clarity, and mental endurance during times of realizing emotions.

It also helps with creativity, organization, and with easing depression. Malachite creates an unobstructed path leading to a desired goal and helps the user accept responsibility for actions and circumstances. Moonstone fosters balance, introspection, and reflection. Quartz amplifies body and thought energy. It also brings the energy of the stars to the body. Rose quartz creates harmony and self-love during chaotic situations. It is the stone of gentle love and brings peace to relationships.

It provides insight into deceit and encourages truth. Tiger eye brings about clarity when dealing with scattered intellectual fragments.

This stone is practical and grounding. Turquoise heals the spirit with soothing energy and provides peace-of-mind. Visit our online store. The nuns buy from local Indian or Tibetan vendors for their beads.

The beads are then hand strung and knotted into mala form. Once complete, the malas are then blessed by the nuns. We try to keep our prices reasonable so that our prayer beads can be accessed by everyone. Thank you so much for supporting the nuns through your mala purchase. Warmest wishes to you. I bought some brand made antique looking beds just as a necklace. I was told they were Tibetan prayer beads. Is there anything wrong with wearing them as just a piece of jewelry.

Hello Angie, As you wear the beads as a necklace they can be a reminder of wisdom and compassion. You can wear them with the intention of wishing to end the suffering of all sentient beings. I purchased what tattoos do girls like prayer bead set that I believe is a mala.

It has two additional strands of smaller beads 10 and 1 bead at each end. O can feel the Divine energy and appreciate the info provided at this site. Is it proper how to clean stained braces have a tattoo of prayer beads, and if so, should it be placed in a particular location on the body?

Dear Wells, There would not be an official position, since such tatooing is a relatively new phenomenon. However, in general, the purpose of prayer beads is to turn them while reciting mantras or prayers, and hence it seems that having them tattooed on the body would rather defeat their intended purpose. If they are meant to be purely decorative, there is probably no harm in tattooing them, though they should be on the upper part of the body.

How is it used differently in the Tibetan tradition, as what is written is how it is used in other traditions, as well. Hello I bought a pretty Tibet oxen homemade bone n skull rosary bead necklace. What are the proper prayers to use.

I want to chant mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum. Kindly answer it. Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. What are Buddhist prayer beads? Share this: Email Facebook Twitter. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

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How to use Mala Beads

Counting the Tibetan Prayer Beads. Your use your thumb to rotate through each bead and count (each breath or mantra). Your thumb should allow you to easily move through each bead that is held by one of your fingers. Using your thumb to pull each bead toward you and cycle through your Prayer Beads until you reach the Guru Bead. How to use mala beads: The mala should be held in the left hand, and always used with gentleness and respect. One bead is counted for each recitation of the mantra, starting with the first bead next to the УguruФ bead. The guru bead is usually larger or more decorative, sometimes with a tassel coming out of it, which represents enlightenment. Sep 29, †Ј How to Use Tibetan Prayer Beads 1 Select a mantra to meditate with. Select a mantra to meditate with. 2 Sit comfortably. Sit comfortably on the floor in lotus or half-lotus position, or on a cushion or low chair if needed. 3 Focus your breathing. Focus your breathing so that it is even and.

A looong time ago, one of our readers, Anjuli, asked if we could write a post on the proper way of holding and counting Tibetan prayer beads Ч malas Ч and the significance of the Bell and Dorje that are tied onto the beads. Finally, Anjuli, here you are. Mala is the original Sanskrit word for the prayer beads used for counting mantra recitations.

Malas are ubiquitous in Tibetan Buddhist communities all over the world, wrapped around wrists or dangling from fingers, accompanying the humming recitations of mantras like om mani padme hum , om tare tuttare ture soha , or om muni muni maha muniye soha.

In Tibetan we call them trengwa. Since a common part of Tibetan Buddhist practice is repeating mentally or out loud certain mantras thousands or even hundreds of thousands of times, it is useful to use your rosary for counting off the number of prayers, like a spiritual abacus.

Even if you are not actively counting, the repeated recitation of the mantra while proceeding bead by bead through the mala serves to focus and calm the mind.

The most common type of mala is a string of beads, made of precious or semi-precious stones, wood, seeds, or bone. Each time you work your way around the mala, saying a mantra for each bead, you are considered to have completed mantra recitations.

Sometimes, malas will have some extra precious stones added at various intervals, like some turquoise or coral for example. These counter beads are extra, so your total bead count would be rather than There is also a smaller, wrist-sized mala, made of 27 beads for example, that is often used when doing prostrations.

In this case, the smaller size is wrapped around your hand and repeated 4 times. One can make other configurations, of 21 or 22, for example, and that is not a problem, as long as you can use your mala for counting. We want to say, as is often true in Tibetan culture, that there are no strict rules when it comes to malas and the way to count your mantras. Everybody does it slightly differently.

There are common ways of doing things but these do not matter nearly so much as your intention and your attitude of prayer. If you are praying from your heart while using your mala, you are doing the right thing! Although some sources recommend using the mala in your left hand, some Tibetans also hold them in the right hand. If you have a prayer wheel in one hand and a mala in the other, it is more common to hold your mala in the left hand and the prayer wheel in the right.

Hold the bead between the index finger and thumb, and recite your mantra once out loud or silently. Then move on to the next bead with a rolling motion of your thumb, recite your mantra again and repeat. When you get to the guru bead again you have completed mantras without needing to count each one.

At this point, most Tibetans do not pass over the guru bead but instead reverse direction by turning the mala around, and starting a new circuit of , going back the way they came.

We are not sure, honestly, why this is so, and we do it out of habit rather than for any special reason. Some people believe that if you continue in the same direction and cross over the guru bead, it is like stepping over your teacher. When counting very high numbers of mantra recitations, it is helpful to have some additional counters attached to your malas.

For these, Tibetans often us a miniature dorje and bell the most common Tibetan Buddhist sacred ritual objects counters. Tibetan: chupshay These are 2 shorter strings of 10 small beads, attached to your mala.

One of the strings has the dorje at the end, and the other the bell. Where these strings are placed on the mala is up to you. We have ours after the 6th bead on either side of the guru bead, but that is for no special reason and you can put them wherever you like. We use the dorje counter to keep count of each circuit of that we make on the mala. So each time you finish one circuit, you will pull forward one bead on the dorje counter.

After 10 circuits of the mala, you will have moved all 10 beads on your dorje counter, and you will have recited mantras.

At this point, you will move one counter forward on the bell counter, to symbolize mantras counted. Then you begin again with a new circuit on your mala, and once you have made a new circuit, you move one of the dorje counter beads forward, and continue like this.

With a dorje and bell counter, you can count up to 10, mantra recitations. If you need to count more than that, you can use anything that you wish.

When counting ,, we have used stones to mark each 10, making a pile of stones in which each one represents 10, , or you can make a note on a piece of paper. The basic idea at this point is that you can use whatever is practical, and not get too concerned about any ritualistic rules or objects. If you are interested, here is a good explanation on Dharmashop. You can use any mala you like. It is better to focus on the spiritual practice of praying and reciting mantras rather than on the looks or value of your mala.

In general, your mala will grow in spiritual significance as you use it for mantra recitations and bring it to teachings and possible have it blessed by your guru. And while it is not in itself as sacred as a statue or a piece of Buddhist scripture, it is something we usually treat with respect. When not using their malas, Tibetans wrap them around their wrists or hang them around their necks. Although please note that they are not worn like a necklace, for decoration, or, with self pride, as a way to show that one is spiritual.

We actually keep ours in a special bookshelf under our altar. Along with instant access to your free, comprehensive online guide for planning your Tibet travel, you will also get our weekly newsletter, with tips, tools and strategies for simple, safe and meaningful Tibet travel. Most people who want to go to Tibet don't know how to get there or who to trust for help. Learn more about us and YoWangdu here.

Tashi delek! I enjoy your site so much and am learning Tibetan not so difficult as I live in Dharamsala and how to cook Tibetan food as a result of your site.

I have a question about using the mala, however. I wanted to know if one was supposed to go in a clockwise direction when doing the mantras, but from what I read, one would go clockwise and then counter-clockwise on the reverse.

Is that the case? Many thanks! Hi Cynthia. This is a good question. Maybe some monks may know this better than I do. I hope this helps! Hello, I am new to the practice of using Malas and really enjoy it. It truly makes me feel more intune when meditating. I was wondering though, should a person stick with one Mala? Or would having more than one be okay? One for work and one for home. Hello, it is my turn to thank you for this valuable information you are sharing with us.

I have just visited the Stupa from Sedona and I felt I needed to make my own mala beads. Hello Please, got to a doctor dermatology to check the dark stripe on the nail, it might be important.

Take care. I would like to thank you for the many useful information presented on the site. I ask: Why do we look for images of monks praying in their malas, do we see these malas with four, five or more counters? Is there any greater reason than simply counting the tens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of mantras?

Hello, thank you very much for your information. It is very helpful. Do you know where can I get some information about which mala es used for different practices? Is there any guide available? Is it upon each lineage? Hi Paula! If anyone out there knows more, please let us know! Hi, just a quick question about mala materials.

I just recently bought a mala carved from yak bone, but afterwards heard that one might need an empowerment in order to use bone malas, as they are often associated with wrathful practices. I am very fond of the mala, and I would love to keep using it, but I also want to show proper respect to the tradition and follow the rules. Thanks very much, and blessings to all! In general we believe that if your motivation is good it is fine to use them.

Hope this helps! Many thanks for this educational information!!!! I really appreciate your emails full of wonderful information. I am also excited to try this recipe. But spinach is not available here. We have an asian green leafy broccoli here which is a type of choy sum also a leaf called bayem and a water spinach called kangkung.

All of these veggies can substitute the spinach and taste delicious. For cheese we rarely can get parmesan but some cheddar or local cheese mixed with some tofu is just fine.

It tastes superb. Thanks for your great recipes and website. Tashi Dekek. Lama Ulu. Hi lately my mala has been feeling heavy when I put them on.

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