Buddhist Mala Beads as tools for Meditation
Mala beads just look like beautiful ornaments at the outset, but their real value is much more than that. They are recognized as a symbolic meditation tool, and also boast of a rich tradition. These special beads have existed for thousands of years, and are said to have originated from India and Nepal. Incidentally, Nepal is the place where meditation has been practiced for the longest duration of time.
Used for peace and calm
In today’s times, Buddhist mala beads are being used to bring peace and calmness into lives. Malas have been traditionally used in meditation and traditional prayers, though any person with little or no experience can start using them. Considering the stressful lives that most of us lead nowadays, these mala beads are certainly helpful.
Moving one bead at a time
Every mala consists of a fixed number of beads, which are usually 108. These malas represent a unique connection with the Universe and a particular spiritual identity. A person who has the Buddhist mala beads in hand should move the mala one bead at a time in the hand. Every movement becomes an instance to focus on the breath, or on a mantra. As a result, a positive spiritual energy called ‘japa’ is formed, which helps to relieve an individual’s stress.
Materials used to make malas
A large number of traditional malas are made with the help of organic materials like wood, animal bone, and wood, which are carved into rounded beads. Malas made from the Rudraksha seed are believed to have special significance, since the seed is loading with spiritual and healing power. In the same manner, malas made using Bodhi seeds represent the ancient fig tree under which Buddha was enlightened over 3000 years back.
Malas can also be made from different gemstones which have variable healing properties. Amongst these, rose quartz is known to promote compassion, and lapis enables mind control. Similarly, amethyst is understood to increase clarity of thought.
No two malas appear the same because of the unique natural qualities of various materials. Each mala becomes a personal and symbolic addition to one’s meditation practice.
Importance of 108 mala beads
The number 108 is very significant in various disciplines, including religion. Here is a description of its importance across different fields-
- Astronomy and mathematics- The diameter of the Sun is 108 times that of the Earth. Additionally, the distance between the two celestial bodies is roughly 108 times the Sun’s diameter. In the field of mathematics, 108 occupies a special place due to its countless patterns and infinite division potentials.
- Ayurveda and other religions- As per Ayurveda, there are 108 places which indicate the intersection between matter and consciousness. According to the Vedas, 108 shows the wholeness of the Universe. 1 represents solar masculinity, 0 refers to lunar femininity, and 8 denotes the infinite nature. Mala beads are not specific to one religion, but are equally used by Buddhists, Sikhs, and Hindus.
Getting into the meditative mode with these malas is easy. One just needs to find a peaceful and comfortable spot.