Malas - what do you think?

Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby disjointed » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:43 am

Malas are useful.
The expense and beauty of material doesn't matter; it will always be plain and unappealing compared to emptiness and compassion. The joy you get from possessions will always be inadequate.

You can spend thousands of dollars on ritual items and it won't make you a better practitioner.
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby plwk » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:17 am

Hickersonia, in the East Asian Pure Land Traditions, specifically, the Chinese Mahayana Tradition, as far as I have known, a mala has somehow been taken as just a representative of the practice of buddhanusmrti. One can see during the Dharma Assemblies or fahui as it is known in Chinese, where the presiding abbot or master normally donning a large and long mala with a long tassel with auspicious signs attached to the back to indicate that idea, even though they're actually from the Chán Tradition.

In fact, if you get a chance to have joined in many buddhanusmrti sessions reciting Amitabha's Name as I have, many temples do not allow or necessitate the use of a mala but just to just follow the instruction of the presiding master / chanter and rhythm of the Dharma instruments and the movements like walking recitation circumambulation to sitting oral recitation to silent sitting contemplation to sung contemplative prostrations.

And no where in the Threefold Sutras or the Fivefold Sutras combination and the Arya Vasubandhu's Sukhavati treatise that mandates the use of a mala to accompany the buddhanusmrti practice. It's basically left to the practitioner. For myself, I have a collection of malas but when doing buddhanusmrti, I used the silent mind recitation that goes on all day long. And besides, when at work or in the public, I feel odd to be seen fingering a rosary or even wearing one on my wrist but of course this is just my own preference. Some like to own and wear a wrist mala too, again too, all personal preferences.

But yes, malas have a long association and tradition within the Pure Land as well but mainly due to its followers' preferences and its symbolism of buddhanusmrti.
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby rory » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:07 am

I certainly cannot imagine not having a mala (juzu) in the Japanese traditions. Indeed all the founders of the various sects are painted with them. I've always had juzu and malas. They are very useful when you are alone and want to chant a certain amount daily, it helps keep the discipline. At the same time they are an excellent reminder to practice and picking them up helps me to get into the proper frame of mind at my altar (especially useful if practicing alone).

You can get nice malas from China at an extremely reasonable price. I bought my white turquoise ones with counters from lotusmind369 off ebay for only $20.00 and they came very quickly. When I used to go to the local Fo Guang Temple the Chinese members admired my mala and asked where to get them:). I think I earned extra respect too.
http://stores.ebay.com/Lotusmind-Buddhi ... em-Jewelry
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:31 am

rory wrote:I certainly cannot imagine not having a mala (juzu) in the Japanese traditions. Indeed all the founders of the various sects are painted with them. I've always had juzu and malas. They are very useful when you are alone and want to chant a certain amount daily, it helps keep the discipline. At the same time they are an excellent reminder to practice and picking them up helps me to get into the proper frame of mind at my altar (especially useful if practicing alone).

You can get nice malas from China at an extremely reasonable price. I bought my white turquoise ones with counters from lotusmind369 off ebay for only $20.00 and they came very quickly. When I used to go to the local Fo Guang Temple the Chinese members admired my mala and asked where to get them:). I think I earned extra respect too.
http://stores.ebay.com/Lotusmind-Buddhi ... em-Jewelry
with gassho
rory


What kind of cord did they uses for yours?
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby padma norbu » Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:45 am

I agree that it is distracting. I actually have bought several over the years for some reason and I still rarely use them. When I do use them, it is distracting. I tend to use them only when I am shooting for a goal and need to keep track (as in the case when I was assigned 100,000 repetitions before I report back to my teacher and get the next bit of instruction). I often tend to finish the amount I intend to do and then just sit there and do a bunch without it to make up for the fact that half the time I was distracted by the effort of moving the beads around in my hand.

A pretty good alternative is to figure out how many malas you can chant in a specific amount of time and then just practice for that amount of time and guesstimate that you did that many... but, there is the whole notion of accumulating some sort of power in the mala over time which you miss out on by not having one. It's pretty common to blow on the mala after chanting the mantra and rub the beads together and over time this is supposed to accumulate a sort of energy. I suppose the more you use a mala, the less distracting you will find them.

It's weird that certain kinds of wood or seeds are supposed to be the most powerful (bodhi seed, in particular, which doesn't even come from the bodhi tree, and lotus seed, also, which is not a lotus seed, either) given that Avalokiteshvara has a crystal mala and crystal is also supposed to be good for Vajrasattva. Sandalwood is not considered more powerful than many gemstones. But, I think if you're going to get one, get a bodhi seed mala, so you'll always know the mala you have is considered the best of the best. Otherwise, you might find yourself collecting them like I did.
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby rory » Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:43 am

Son of Buddha; sorry I bought that one years ago so I can't check on the website. The cord looks like it's nylon, it certainly can withstand a handling, many handlings. I keep my ownership down to two: the mala and a juzu of the sect I belong to. Right now I don't belong to a specific sect so I have the one mala. I will say years ago when I was quite ill and in hospital, having my mala in my hand was a strong tie to practice and faith and helped me to do both....
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Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera
brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:25 am

rory wrote:Son of Buddha; sorry I bought that one years ago so I can't check on the website. The cord looks like it's nylon, it certainly can withstand a handling, many handlings. I keep my ownership down to two: the mala and a juzu of the sect I belong to. Right now I don't belong to a specific sect so I have the one mala. I will say years ago when I was quite ill and in hospital, having my mala in my hand was a strong tie to practice and faith and helped me to do both....
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Ill definitely get one since they have nylon cords.

I wont buy a mala or juzu that doesnt have a nylon cord,(none of the other cords will hold up to daily wear and use and end up breaking)
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby Martin007 » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:10 pm

I've been doing some chanting again recently and dug out my old mala - it was like meeting up with an old friend. :thumbsup:
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby yan kong » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:58 pm

padma norbu wrote:It's weird that certain kinds of wood or seeds are supposed to be the most powerful (bodhi seed, in particular, which doesn't even come from the bodhi tree, and lotus seed, also, which is not a lotus seed, either) given that Avalokiteshvara has a crystal mala and crystal is also supposed to be good for Vajrasattva. Sandalwood is not considered more powerful than many gemstones. But, I think if you're going to get one, get a bodhi seed mala, so you'll always know the mala you have is considered the best of the best. Otherwise, you might find yourself collecting them like I did.


The material of malas is more important in the Tibetan tradition, it holds less importance in east Asian traditions.
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby rory » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:33 am

Yes I've never had any priest or longtime practioner in either Chinese or Japanese traditions mention or make an issue of what a mala/juzu is made of. It's up to you. Your mala really is a friend, I practiced for years without one, living in Ireland before ebay:) and though it was okay I was really happy to have one.
There are other ebay mala sellers, as long as they have a big happy sales record try them. I purchased a nice scroll of Kannon too.
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Dharani of Amoghapasa Avalokitesvara:

Om amogha-padma-pasa-krodhakarsaya praveshaya maha-pashupati-yama-varuna-kuvera
brahma-vesa-dhara padma-kula-samayan hum hum

heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby catmoon » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:47 am

mandala wrote:I think the most important thing is that you like it, whatever you choose is something you have an affinity for.

I feel like a bit of a jerk saying I have a silver mala these days. I didn't seek it out, but found one in a dharma shop & liked it, it's very tactile & weighty. Previously I felt a bit self conscious wearing sandalwood malas because it's quite obvious, whereas the silver mala mostly passes as jewelry to most people. Sometimes people will ask me about it, and I don't mind that either.

I remember when my sandalwood mala finally broke and the beads went cascading all over the floor - it was funny afterwards but i was a bit devastated at the time :P


I've heard it said that a broken mala is good fortune. It won't break if you don't use it.
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby tidathep » Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:20 pm

dimeo wrote:I found using a mala to really help my practice. I'm really happy I got into using them. It's such a simple, basic, inexpensive thing in some ways, and super powerful at the same time. (Kind of like how a pencil is so basic and yet can do so much! )

It's a neat way to keep 'count' just by moving your fingers and also can also function like a timer to count down your mediation time with each breath.

.

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Sawaddee Ka :namaste:

Me too, I love my malabeads....using my mala...really help my concentration..my malabeads are gemstones 8mm..110 beads,standard for Thai malabead. Every gemstone-colors are so pretty and so cool when counting!

Image

It doesn't matter where you buy 'mala'....your saddha to pray with mala is the most important.

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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby catmoon » Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:59 pm

Can somebody remind me - why is it we count the mantras?
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby RikudouSennin » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:21 pm

catmoon wrote:Can somebody remind me - why is it we count the mantras?


to keep track of your daily recitation goal
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby catmoon » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:55 pm

RikudouSennin wrote:
catmoon wrote:Can somebody remind me - why is it we count the mantras?


to keep track of your daily recitation goal


ok so we have a goal and it is a number....and larger numbers of mantras are better than smaller ones.... see where I am going?

The numbers also allow comparisons. So lama x did a million, maybe I'd better get busy, or hrm I'm doing more mantras than the Dalai Lama, maybe I should spend more time doing other things...

I'm wondering if we should be more results-oriented.
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby RikudouSennin » Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:11 pm

catmoon wrote:
RikudouSennin wrote:
catmoon wrote:Can somebody remind me - why is it we count the mantras?


to keep track of your daily recitation goal


ok so we have a goal and it is a number....and larger numbers of mantras are better than smaller ones.... see where I am going?

The numbers also allow comparisons. So lama x did a million, maybe I'd better get busy, or hrm I'm doing more mantras than the Dalai Lama, maybe I should spend more time doing other things...

I'm wondering if we should be more results-oriented.


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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby ClearblueSky » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:02 pm

catmoon wrote:
RikudouSennin wrote:
catmoon wrote:Can somebody remind me - why is it we count the mantras?


to keep track of your daily recitation goal


ok so we have a goal and it is a number....and larger numbers of mantras are better than smaller ones.... see where I am going?

The numbers also allow comparisons. So lama x did a million, maybe I'd better get busy, or hrm I'm doing more mantras than the Dalai Lama, maybe I should spend more time doing other things...

I'm wondering if we should be more results-oriented.

It is not only for large accumulations, even in short practices there are specific numbers of mantra that are supposed to be auspicious. For example, a group of people sitting together will be doing a practice and at a certain point they will all do 108 mantras together counting on their malas, the same amount. There are many practices I use my mala for, counting a certain number of mantras that practice, but never adding the numbers to a big goal.
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby Nighthawk » Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:35 am

Need one of these for my nembutsu practice... keep forgetting to get one.
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby yan kong » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:32 pm

catmoon wrote:I'm wondering if we should be more results-oriented.


Or just focus on the mantra or buddha's name instead of searching for results.
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Re: Malas - what do you think?

Postby Jiko » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:10 pm

I am Jodo Shu Buddhist so I have the 60,000 count rosary that the school uses, very useful, but, for me very tricky to use. Because I find it this way, I do not use it and instead use my Bodhi Seed wrist mala which is a continuous loop of beads. In this way, being small, it does not get in the way and is easy to put back onto wrist as it is elasticated, much more practical in this more busy modern world and helps my Nembutsu practice continue in a much more ceaseless manor than the traditional juzu (mala) which is basically a calculator.

Traditional Jodo Shu Juzu:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3301/3240104541_121beaf664.jpg

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