Author Topic: Mala Etiquette (things like is it acceptable to have a Mala of 17 beads, etc.)  (Read 89 times)

Offline wsyldor

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Hi Everyone,

I'm a new Buddhist practitioner, and have questions about Malas. I have been saving for a Mala (is this correct?) hand crafted by a single Buddhist in California, that will be 108 beads with a guru bead. I'm researching and carefully choosing the materials, design, etc. In the meantime, I've been struggling as to whether or not I should purchase or obtain a Mala with less than 108 beads, in the meantime. It's currently my best way of obtaining a Mala I find acceptable and respectful.

Two days ago, I purchased a Mala that is 17 beads, with no guru bead, made to be worn on the wrist. I have since been reading that the minimum bead count for a Mala is 27 beads. Do I discard this Mala and wait until I can find one with 27 beads that I also feel good about purchasing? It took me three years to find this one, but that's of no importance. If I need to discard, how would I go about discarding what I think is a Mala, respectfully? I find my current Mala to be useful to concentration and dedication. I only medidate via Vipassana, so I don't use my Mala for meditation. I use my Mala as a signifier and reminder of my Buddhist practice and devotion, and counting in various circumstances as a means of concentrating my mind and remembering my practice in difficult and stressful moments.

I wear my Mala almost exclusively outside of my home. When home, I place my Mala on a small, lava stone, roughly carved Buddha statue I have (bhūmisparśa mudrā but with the right palm facing up instead of down? What's up with that? Couldn't find anything online). I try my best not to have my Mala touch the ground, but have unfortunately dropped it two times already. I wear my Mala on my right wrist. Should I be wearing my Mala on my left wrist, if I'm wearing my Mala on my wrist?

All in all, I take my Mala as seriously as I can, yet I fear my ignorance has caused me to obtain my Mala in a way not aligned with Buddhism, along with the issue with 17 beads instead of 27. Can I get some guidance? I find conflicting messages online.

Take care,
-Will

Offline wsyldor

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I apologize if I'm posting in the wrong area, I know there's a post entitled MALA BEADS, but it felt like a post for people who knew what they were doing, or who have subscribed to 26 vs 108 beads, or who are making their own Malas. I don't fall into any of these catergories, but realize now that maybe this post is more appropriate in that thread. Is it possible to move this thread, if this is the case?

-Will

Offline wsyldor

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Sorry: also, this is my first time utilizing a forum, so I'm not very good at this.

-W

Offline wsyldor

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Oh my goodness sorry for all the posts. I do want to wear my 108 bead Mala during my Vipassana meditation, but I wouldn't use it for counting. Is this appropriate? What is the use of a Mala in Vipassana? Should I wear my Mala while meditating using Vipassana, if I'm not using it for counting?

-W

Offline IdleChater

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Hi Everyone,

I'm a new Buddhist practitioner, and have questions about Malas. I have been saving for a Mala (is this correct?) hand crafted by a single Buddhist in California, that will be 108 beads with a guru bead. I'm researching and carefully choosing the materials, design, etc. In the meantime, I've been struggling as to whether or not I should purchase or obtain a Mala with less than 108 beads, in the meantime. It's currently my best way of obtaining a Mala I find acceptable and respectful.

Two days ago, I purchased a Mala that is 17 beads, with no guru bead, made to be worn on the wrist. I have since been reading that the minimum bead count for a Mala is 27 beads. Do I discard this Mala and wait until I can find one with 27 beads that I also feel good about purchasing? It took me three years to find this one, but that's of no importance. If I need to discard, how would I go about discarding what I think is a Mala, respectfully? I find my current Mala to be useful to concentration and dedication. I only medidate via Vipassana, so I don't use my Mala for meditation. I use my Mala as a signifier and reminder of my Buddhist practice and devotion, and counting in various circumstances as a means of concentrating my mind and remembering my practice in difficult and stressful moments.

I wear my Mala almost exclusively outside of my home. When home, I place my Mala on a small, lava stone, roughly carved Buddha statue I have (bhūmisparśa mudrā but with the right palm facing up instead of down? What's up with that? Couldn't find anything online). I try my best not to have my Mala touch the ground, but have unfortunately dropped it two times already. I wear my Mala on my right wrist. Should I be wearing my Mala on my left wrist, if I'm wearing my Mala on my wrist?

All in all, I take my Mala as seriously as I can, yet I fear my ignorance has caused me to obtain my Mala in a way not aligned with Buddhism, along with the issue with 17 beads instead of 27. Can I get some guidance? I find conflicting messages online.

Take care,
-Will

Keep this one thing in mind.  A Mala is, first and foremost, a device for counting repetitions.  These are things like prayers, mantras, prostrations, and so on.

The guru bead is important - it lets you know when a certain number of repetitions is reached.

A mala is useless for Vipassana  as there is nothing in that practice to count.

Malas can be any number of beads, but the most common are 108 beads or 27.  You sometimes find 54 bead Malas.

I hope that helps

 


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