How To Use Mala Beads
Traditional Buddhist mala beads and prayer beads are descended from ancient traditions, passed down through the ages into modern times. While at face value they are a very simple tool, they have weathered as a time-honored tradition because of their extraordinary power, both metaphorically and literally. Likely, if you are reading this article, you have found some mala beads for sale, purchased them, and now simply can’t quite figure out how they are actually used. While the uses and meanings of mala and prayer beads can be quite an extensive subject, this article will guide you through the basics of how these beads are correctly used.
WEARING YOUR MALA BEADS
While it may sound straightforward, and while it may not be the traditional Buddhist way of using the mala beads, simply wearing them can have a much greater effect than you might first imagine. While the most common method of wearing your prayer beads is around the wrist, there is no exact method as to how to wear mala beads, and they can be carried in any way that is comfortable. By simply wearing your mala beads, you have the power to raise awareness and encourage enlightenment anywhere you go. If your mala beads bracelet was given to you as a gift by a friend or loved one, keeping these beads with you can serve as a strong way to connect with that person.
TRADITIONAL USE OF MALA BEADS
While wearing your mala beads is powerful in and of itself, you may also be looking for how mala and prayer beads are used traditionally. In this sense, these beads are primarily used as a powerful tool to incite a greater ability to meditate or pray. While the number of beads on a particular strand of japamala beads may vary, they traditionally will have exactly 109 beads. There are 108 mala beads, the smaller ones, as well as one larger bead known as the guru bead. During meditation or prayer, it is fundamentally important to both clear your mind and also maintain absolute focus. These two feats are often at odds with each other, as too much focus clouds the mind, while clearing the mind excessively yields a loss of focus. The mala beads are primarily meant to be a tool in which to achieve both simultaneously. While meditating or praying, the beads are generally held in one hand.
Then, beginning with the guru bead, you will use your thumb and index finger to slowly rotate through the mala beads. This exercise will give a tactile experience during meditation and prayer, giving the mind something very simple to focus on. When you have reached the guru bead, you have effectively counted through to 109, yet haven’t had to focus so much on counting to cloud your mind. This simple exercise can yield much greater experiences in both prayer and in meditation. Through using traditional japamala beads during these exercises, you can progress in experience much faster in meditating than without.