vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby Qing Tian » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:07 am

"Bodhi seeds" look like they have an 'eye'. Apparently this is where the stalk was attached and when the seeds are used as beads the 'eye' is usually around the circumference rather on the top or bottom.

I just restrung my more used one, the first time I have tried this. Sounds simple... yeah, right. Chanting a mantra for each seed threaded, and fiddling around with a piece of jeweler's wire to pull the thread through the holes took me nearly an hour to sort out. I guess next time an investment in a bodkin will ease the task! Also, I learned how to tie an endless knot, just for fun.

Now here's a rather weird factoid: in my country the customs office have absolutely no apparent qualms about me importing malas made with seeds of various kinds. However, I cannot import a set of juggling balls from the US that are filled with heat-treated white millet - it was for a friend, honest!
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby padma norbu » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:32 pm

Qing Tian wrote:"Bodhi seeds" look like they have an 'eye'. Apparently this is where the stalk was attached and when the seeds are used as beads the 'eye' is usually around the circumference rather on the top or bottom.


Is this what I keep seeing as "phoenix eye" when I Google about bodhi seeds? Glad you explained this because I think this is more or less the same formation that I was referring to as cracks/holes. It is on every single bead and some of them have little holes in these formations, but there is really just one mark on every bead and it kind of looks like the eye I see in some Google images where the formation is more clearly in an "eye" shape. Ah, glad I brought this up. So I really do have the bodhi seeds, then, and not some damaged beads. Weird that my bodhi seed wrist mala does not have these marks/holes, though. I am fairly certain it is the same kind of wood.

wrist mala is on the left, 108 bead is on the right with the yellow cord.
http://i.imgur.com/9lyfBVf.jpg

Here, they are crossing, but the lighter beads with the yellow cord is the the new 108 bead mala I just got with the holes:
http://imgur.com/3DYluaE
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby Qing Tian » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:39 pm

Nice! The colour is a lovely rich dark brown too. Mine are a bit lighter but hopefully will get a decent patina with use.

And yes, that is the 'eye' shape. The other marks and creases on the surface are just normal irregularities. These are seeds, not made of wood.
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby padma norbu » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:39 pm

Thanks for all your feedback! I guess I'm pretty satisfied with my new purchase, then... whatever it is! :D
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby Adamantine » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:21 am

those holes are probably just part of the connecting points where the "eyes" are. .. sometimes the seeds naturally start to split a little at those points,.. it is not a problem, unless they actually break. in your photo the new mala beads look a little smooth for bodhi (compare to the texture on the wrist mala), but it seems with the eye pattern that it should be bodhi seed.. maybe they were sanded down a bit? not sure why anyone would take the trouble though.. also, usually if they are new the bodhi seeds are a lighter color.. they slowly get darker as the oils of your skin (or if you rub sandalwood oil into them) permeate them.. usually after years of many mantras they get dark, smooth and shiny. but not when they are new! so maybe yours were treated in some way to make them look that way... or they are used? but it's not good to use a used-by-somone-else mala because you don't know if they were keeping pure samaya and if not that could negatively impact your practice.

also, it's best if you find a few (or one) bodhi seed beads on your mala that have a triangular shape where the normal eye shape would be. this is a garuda sign/
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby padma norbu » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:40 pm

Yes, they were sanded down to be smaller beads. They are actually a little smaller than my wrist mala, which is also sanded down, but not quite as much. They are also new and simply oiled to be that color, which is fairly common, I think, since Hands of Tibet and all the tibetan shops around me sell that same kind of mala. My wrist mala came that color and I saw the guy in the shop put it together myself from a huge stack of new beads. The new mala was clearly oiled because the box it came in has oil spots on the top of the lid where the mala was touching.

I want to believe all these claims and rules about malas, but my mind has a natural tendency to throw it out. For every rule I'm told, there's always some story or quote from a famous teacher that negates it, you know? Some say to skip the guru bead, others say you should never skip it but need to turn the mala around and go the other way. Some say malas have power, others say it's just a tool for counting. Some say you shouldn't share, others say it doesn't matter. It reminds me of Lama Zopa's dedication to get the word out about proper prayer wheel creation with the sky wheel and earth wheel mantra and the tree of life mantra on the center spoke, but then there is the story about how someone removed the prayer wheel's mantra roll from an enemy's prayer wheel out of spite but in the end it did not hurt his practice at all. It's really impossible to know what happened to any mala before you got it, so I would hope a purification ritual would be enough to make these items not utterly useless after one person counted some mantra with them.
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:13 pm

i have read a story where a lama tells this story that in tibet and himalaya regions people come to the lama asking them to purify and bless theyre mala because theyre enemy had touched it, and i think thats kinda missing the point of practice... If you chant om mani padme hum and enemy touches it, youve just given your enemy a blessing, but you become afraid that your mala is poisoned and needs purification.

anyway i also have been buffled how to use mala, first i did back and forth changing directions always at the guru bead. now i always cross it and go one direction.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby T. Chokyi » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:29 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:
anyway i also have been buffled how to use mala, first i did back and forth changing directions always at the guru bead. now i always cross it and go one direction.


Gyatrul Rinpoche told me directly to never do that, "cross" or go over the Guru Bead... you might want to "re-think" that idea of crossing the Guru Bead. Free thinking western people often make up an idea that you can cross this and think "oh how nice/great my Guru is"... something like that...when they don't stop at the Guru bead... but it is way untraditional to cross over the Guru bead... I've heard this from other teachers in at least 3 of the 4 major schools of Vajrayana, to not cross the Guru bead. In other words, one avoids passing or "crossing" over the Guru bead because doing that action is symbolically like stepping over one's teacher, or stepping on his shadow for instance, which is part of the teacher...so basically its considered disrespectful, like not taking your hat off in front of the statue of Buddha when you are in the temple, although for me, crossing the Guru Bead might be considered in "my book" even worse ettiquette then taking the hat off, why do I mention it... because if you ever teach, become a chaplin (unless that was some other Konchok) and want to teach someone how to use their mala and you tell them to keep it going in circles and not to start on the bead next to the Guru bead and proceed all the way around and then stop at the Guru bead and turn the mala around, well, if you pass it down to just keep going around the mala as if there is no Guru bead at all, you will be teaching and passing down a rather bad habit, and similarly if a Tibetan sees you doing like that they will probably wonder why you are showing disrespect.

Believe me, I didn't feel like writing this advice here, I'm not a "goody two shoes keep to the rules or get busted" kind of person, but this maybe important for you and others... Malas can be important for your practice, especially if you decide to integrate the teachings you have while using your mala, which can then become quite precious for you...but I could go on... and I don't want to do that either... :tongue:

Take good care
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby KonchokZoepa » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:37 am

:good: thanks
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby padma norbu » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:14 am

T. Chokyi wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:
anyway i also have been buffled how to use mala, first i did back and forth changing directions always at the guru bead. now i always cross it and go one direction.


Gyatrul Rinpoche told me directly to never do that, "cross" or go over the Guru Bead... you might want to "re-think" that idea of crossing the Guru Bead. Free thinking western people often make up an idea that you can cross this and think "oh how nice/great my Guru is"... something like that...when they don't stop at the Guru bead... but it is way untraditional to cross over the Guru bead... I've heard this from other teachers in at least 3 of the 4 major schools of Vajrayana, to not cross the Guru bead.


I have heard at least 3 or 4 times from lamas in the various traditions that it does not matter if you cross it or not. If I had not heard it so plainly, I would have always reversed course on the mala, but the fact is many authentic teachers have said it doesn't matter. Many authentic teachers have said also "it's just for counting" and various words to the effect that there are a lot of ideas about what you should and shouldn't do, but don't get hung up on this.
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby smcj » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:45 am

I was taught to not cross it. However no dire consequences were described in order to make the point.
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby KonchokZoepa » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:03 am

i used to to not cross it and i think that if you pray to you're guru for blessings while crossing the bed its good. loooking the action karmically. if you dont have any symbolic meaning of stepping on the teacher, intention of that i dont think there is any negative karma in crossing the bead.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby KonchokZoepa » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:56 am

T. Chokyi wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:
anyway i also have been buffled how to use mala, first i did back and forth changing directions always at the guru bead. now i always cross it and go one direction.


Gyatrul Rinpoche told me directly to never do that, "cross" or go over the Guru Bead... you might want to "re-think" that idea of crossing the Guru Bead. Free thinking western people often make up an idea that you can cross this and think "oh how nice/great my Guru is"... something like that...when they don't stop at the Guru bead... but it is way untraditional to cross over the Guru bead... I've heard this from other teachers in at least 3 of the 4 major schools of Vajrayana, to not cross the Guru bead. In other words, one avoids passing or "crossing" over the Guru bead because doing that action is symbolically like stepping over one's teacher, or stepping on his shadow for instance, which is part of the teacher...so basically its considered disrespectful, like not taking your hat off in front of the statue of Buddha when you are in the temple, although for me, crossing the Guru Bead might be considered in "my book" even worse ettiquette then taking the hat off, why do I mention it... because if you ever teach, become a chaplin (unless that was some other Konchok) and want to teach someone how to use their mala and you tell them to keep it going in circles and not to start on the bead next to the Guru bead and proceed all the way around and then stop at the Guru bead and turn the mala around, well, if you pass it down to just keep going around the mala as if there is no Guru bead at all, you will be teaching and passing down a rather bad habit, and similarly if a Tibetan sees you doing like that they will probably wonder why you are showing disrespect.

Believe me, I didn't feel like writing this advice here, I'm not a "goody two shoes keep to the rules or get busted" kind of person, but this maybe important for you and others... Malas can be important for your practice, especially if you decide to integrate the teachings you have while using your mala, which can then become quite precious for you...but I could go on... and I don't want to do that either... :tongue:

Take good care


i think this is a good post. but no one has told me this. and i dont see any harm chanting a mantra on the guru bead and reinforcing your relationship with the guru that way. ive noticed that is a powerful point on the mala. and i think this symbolism is also relative, not an actual fact or truth. and if you mean no disrespect than its just anothers deluded / judgmental / superstitious / opinionated perception. be it cultural or not. of course it has a good intention and respective act behind the thought so i dont really know what to think, how to do it, is it so wrong that chant the mantra on the guru bead. i dont know. maybe ill try again not crossing the guru bead and then decide how im gonna use my mala from the next time onwards.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby KonchokZoepa » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:58 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:
anyway i also have been buffled how to use mala, first i did back and forth changing directions always at the guru bead. now i always cross it and go one direction.


and i also think now that i come to think symbolically that crossing the Guru bead could mean union with Gurus mind and crossing over from duality to non duality, from samsara to nirvana etc.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby T. Chokyi » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:27 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:
anyway i also have been buffled how to use mala, first i did back and forth changing directions always at the guru bead. now i always cross it and go one direction.


and i also think now that i come to think symbolically that crossing the Guru bead could mean union with Gurus mind and crossing over from duality to non duality, from samsara to nirvana etc.


You have a good imagination, but perhaps you are thinking this up on your own, it sounds good but in actual practice may not be what your teacher would instruct. You could ask your teacher (past or future tense) who gives you the empowerments and practices you are doing with your mala for concise instructions on its use, and also the proper way to handle your mala. Perhaps if he/she is leaving town after the empowerment, a senior student who has many years experience could help.

If your teacher, who gave you your empowerments says not to cross the bead in a very direct way, then its best to follow your teacher's instruction, however if you accidentally cross it, then don't get hung up, and remember that its "just for counting"... this could put you at ease...but actually imho thats not all a mala can be (only a counter), it can become a precious mala imbued with the blessings of your practice, your yidam for instance, and the blessing of your root teachers ...teachers may say things to help us westerners relax and not be uptight about our own "wrongness" or "rightness" especially in the beginning. A Lama will often find the common level of the group he/she is addressing, and speak in ways that suit their audience and put them at ease, this way of relating is skillful, why? because westerners can feel that they are maybe going to do everything the wrong way, after all, it's not something everyone is familiar with, so saying "its just for counting" can be skillful, and saying not to get hung up can be skillful. Actually doing all kinds of things, like playing a damaru, ringing the bell while chanting and turning the pages of a pecha while doing these things, and also holding your visual clearly, and pronouncing things well, especially when one begins to do these things and do them all at once can be rather daunting for people.

As I said, I just followed my teachers instruction, and his name is on this thread, thought you might like to know what he said. If your teacher who gives you your empowerments says to keep crossing that Guru bead (although I doubt it) then who am I to say your Guru isn't working for/with you? What I know is that my teacher would correct me if he saw me crossing the bead and I also know about myself, I wouldn't be inclined to work with a teacher who would be telling me in an absolute kind of way to do the opposite of that instruction unless there was a very good explanation in detail why that instruction is so different. I'd also want to know what purpose it serves, and where does that teaching come from.

So you can check with your teachers quite thoroughly right?

Everybody has their own karmic connections and teachers, not everybody has a karmic connection to the same teachers for example, so it's not a problem, but I hope you have a good connection to your own authentic teachers and eventually a profound connection in your heart to what they teach you, this is what I'd wish for anyone who is practicing. I feel strongly its important to be guided in the beginning by qualified and authentic teachers, rather than wonder what to do and to "experiment" on one's own to the point of making things up.

I've never heard a Rinpoche who gives empowerments and instructions for practice say "just make everything up as you go" rather than explain in detail what to do and how to do it, and also very importantly, why to do it, this is especially true of authentic teachers who are giving transmission.

Asking him or her how to use your mala would be a great way to relate to your teacher, how to use your fingers, where to place the mala (not on the floor even though you might have an idea that its neither dirty or clean there) ask him/her why it shouldn't go on the floor, because still you have to pay respect to what your tradition is actually doing.

Stay safe young skywalker! :smile:
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby futerko » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:37 am

T. Chokyi wrote:What I know is that my teacher would correct me if he saw me crossing the bead


So how would you go about doing more than 108 mantras?
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby T. Chokyi » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:06 am

futerko wrote:
T. Chokyi wrote:What I know is that my teacher would correct me if he saw me crossing the bead


So how would you go about doing more than 108 mantras?


Well, when it comes to prelims, just for example, I've been taught when you come to the Guru bead instead of crossing over it you turn the mala (180 degrees basically) and then you go the other way and just keep on going.

You'd use the mala to count 108 repetitions which is the usual amount of beads on the Mala and generally you toss out 8 of the 108 and only count a round as 100. This has to do with allowances for mistakes. You can do as many rounds as you want to depending on circumstance.

This was true of what Gyatrul Rinpoche taught and also I noticed Tai Situpa Rinpoche mentions this online when he describes counting for the prelims.

It becomes very automatic to flip or "rotate" the mala once you reach the end of the beads and reach the Guru Bead (some traditions also call this bead "The Buddha Bead" like in Shaolin), at that point it can become absolutely automatic to turn the mala and go the other way around, no thought process involved to turn the mala the 180 degrees, there is kind of quick flip and it rotates around and one starts in the other direction, each time or "round" you arrive at your Guru Bead, then you repeat.
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby padma norbu » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:49 pm

I think in Vajrayana since we have the guru relationship, it only matters what your specific teacher told you. Both of my teachers I have taken refuge with have said it does not matter if you skip the guru bead (Lama Tsering Everest and Chogyal Namkhai Norbu). Unless I am completely having false memory syndrome, which I suppose is possible. :smile: I believe I also saw a video by Tsem Tulku saying the same thing and I am quite sure I read an old piece by some highly-respected lama saying this as well, but I can't recall who, exactly. It was a long time ago.

This website has some good information on it:
http://www.khandro.net/practice_mala.htm
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby futerko » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:48 pm

Thanks for the info, very interesting...

(and with the mention of Shaolin and the "quick flip", I even found myself adding some kung fu sound effects).
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Re: vajratool mala by padmasambhava and gyatrul rinpoche

Postby conebeckham » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:59 pm

T. Chokyi wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:
anyway i also have been buffled how to use mala, first i did back and forth changing directions always at the guru bead. now i always cross it and go one direction.


Gyatrul Rinpoche told me directly to never do that, "cross" or go over the Guru Bead... you might want to "re-think" that idea of crossing the Guru Bead. Free thinking western people often make up an idea that you can cross this and think "oh how nice/great my Guru is"... something like that...when they don't stop at the Guru bead... but it is way untraditional to cross over the Guru bead... I've heard this from other teachers in at least 3 of the 4 major schools of Vajrayana, to not cross the Guru bead. In other words, one avoids passing or "crossing" over the Guru bead because doing that action is symbolically like stepping over one's teacher, or stepping on his shadow for instance, which is part of the teacher...so basically its considered disrespectful, like not taking your hat off in front of the statue of Buddha when you are in the temple, although for me, crossing the Guru Bead might be considered in "my book" even worse ettiquette then taking the hat off, why do I mention it... because if you ever teach, become a chaplin (unless that was some other Konchok) and want to teach someone how to use their mala and you tell them to keep it going in circles and not to start on the bead next to the Guru bead and proceed all the way around and then stop at the Guru bead and turn the mala around, well, if you pass it down to just keep going around the mala as if there is no Guru bead at all, you will be teaching and passing down a rather bad habit, and similarly if a Tibetan sees you doing like that they will probably wonder why you are showing disrespect.



Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche said there's no basis for this idea, and he has advised to just go in one direction, and not worry about it.....but to each his or her own.
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