Long ago I was told the mantra Om Mani Padme Hung, frees one being from the karmic cycle of rebirth, in each of the six realms, with every repeat.
So, repeating it a lot, frees lots of beings from suffering, which brings a lot of good karma to you.
Sanskrit - Sounds like = Ohm Man-knee Pad-may Whong
Tibetan - Sounds like = Ohm Mah-knee Pem-may Whong (Pem-may is like calling to your mother).
A mala should have a bell and dorje, each with 10 counters, attached between the 21st and 22nd beads, on each side of the lama bead, the big one (or extra one) at the bottom, center.
When counting, the mala is normally held in the left hand at the level of the heart, and one of the beads immediately next to the guru bead is used to register the first mantra.
The thumb acts as a vajra hook and draws the blessing of the mantra towards you.
When you finish saying 108 mantras, you push one counter (1 of 10) down, toward the bell, when 10 are down, push them up and push one counter (1 of 10) down towards the dorje.
So, when you have done 10 x 10 x 108 mantras = 10,800 mantra repeats.
Do this 10 times = 10,800 x 10 = 108,000 repeats, the minimum goal, for each mantra you learn.
If you don't have a lot of time, you can you can chant 21 repeats.
You know when your done, when you feel the bell or dorje, making it easy to count even in the dark.
No matter how many you say, when you finish, remember to dedicate the merit, of the recitations, to be used for the enlightenment of all sentient beings. (Never for just yourself.)
This is like putting them into a bank.
You won't lose the benefit of saying them, if you get angry, for example.
If you don't dedicate them, and you get mad and yell or worse, you lose all the merit of them, plus a whole lot more.
The benefits of reciting the mantra Om Mani Padme Hung
It is mentioned in the tantras that by reciting this mantra, you will achieve the four qualities of being born in the Amitabha Buddha pure land and other pure lands; at the time of death, seeing Buddhas and lights appearing in the sky; the devas making you offerings; and never being reborn in the hell, hungry ghost or animals realms. You will be reborn in the pure land of Buddha or as a happy transmigratory being. "When one who recites ten malas a day goes swimming, whether in a river, an ocean or some other body of water, the water that touches that person’s body gets blessed. It is said that up to seven generations of that person’s descendents won’t get reborn in the lower realms. The reason for this is that due to the power of mantra, the body is blessed by the person reciting the mantra and visualizing their body in form of the holy body of Chenrezig. Therefore, the body becomes so powerful, so blessed that this affects the consciousness up to seven generations and has the effect that if one dies with a non-virtuous thought, one is not reborn in a lower realm. Thus, when a person who has recited ten malas of om mani padme hum a day goes into a river or an ocean, the water that touches the person’s body gets blessed, and this blessed water then purifies all the billions and billions of sentient beings in the water. So it’s unbelievably beneficial; this person saves the animals in that water from the most unbelievable suffering of the lower realms. When such a person walks down a road and the wind touches his or her body and then goes on to touch insects, their negative karma gets purified and causes them to have a good rebirth. Similarly, when such a person does massage or otherwise touches others’ bodies, those people’s negative karma also gets purified. Such a person becomes meaningful to behold; being seen and touched becomes a means of liberating other sentient beings. This means that even the person’s breath touching the bodies of other sentient beings purifies their negative karma. Anybody who drinks the water in which such a person has swum gets purified." ~Lama Zopa Rinpoche~
Some believe that the energy of accumulated mantras is stored in the mala, one of the many reasons malas are cherished by those who use them.
Bodhiseed malas are considered appropriate for counting all kinds of mantras, prayers, prostrations and circumambulations.
Other types of stone, seed or coloured bead are used because of their association to a particular deity or form of practice.
Crystal or conch shell beads are particularly appropriate for prayers linked with Chenrezig; sandalwood is valued for pacifying; bone can be used for wrathful practices. Tibetans also prize malas made of coral, lapis, turquoise and carnelian; these beads are often added to malas as extra spacers.
Beads such as the dZi stone are amongst the most sought after of all Himalayan beads and are also added to malas as dividers.(Many fakes, be extremely careful about these.)