Mala Shop

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

About Malas and Mantras

A customer asked me what books to read about malas.

The books I recommend are about mindfulness, compassion, and meditation.
I especially like the books by the Dalai Lama, Chagdud Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse, Thich Nhat Hahn, and Chogyam Trungpa.

A lot of Hindu books may talk about mantras. In Buddhism they accompany practices, but they aren't the main focus. So if you read about the practices of Avalokiteshvara, it may speak about the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra. The same with writings about Tara, Guru Rinpoche, and all of the other Tibetan practices.

The way I was taught (it's different in different disciplines), is that you hold the mala in your left hand, close to your heart, and with the thumb and pointer finger you pull the bead towards you. When you get to the three-holed guru bead (or large bead, in your wrist mala), you turn around and go the other direction. You don't say a mantra on the guru bead.

It's a way of calming the mind and invoking the qualities of the deity in that particular practice. These qualities are Love, Compassion, Wisdom, and things like that. You focus loosely on the mantra, relax, and let the mantra flow quietly. Or out loud, it doesn't matter. You can keep track of how many you say in a little book or by hanging mala counters on your mala.

Here's the wiki article.
There are good links there.

And here's something I wrote about blessing and using a mala.

Hope this helps, it's not intended to be advice or overwhelming.


Mare said...

Sounds like wonderful advice to me! :)

Laura said...

Thanks for dropping by, Mare!

vintage brooches said...

I also do meditation and I do have few beautiful mala's that I do adore. Its a great way to feel relaxed and make free from all kind of worries and tension. The mala that is shown above is very nice. What kind of stones are those, are they some special kind ?

Laura said...

Hi Vintage,
Mantras ARE a great way to relax, aren't they!

The mala in the photo is a half mala with 54 beads, made of picture jasper, with green aventurine at the 7th spots and rainbow fluorite at the 21st spots. It has a bloodstone guru bead and silk tassel, but you can't see that. It's one that I designed purely to please my own tastes, so it's a little unusual. I love those stones. They're pretty symbolic.

Take care!