steveb1 wrote:Looking about the Web, I find that there are two perspectives on wearing beads on the wrist or wrapped around the arm (like Richard Gere in some of his "introduction to Buddhism" videos). These seem to be:
1) Never wear them except in services or in private meditation. If you want them to accompany you throughout the day, keep them in a pouch in your pocket, backpack, etc. Popular examples such as HH Dalai Lama are invoked for reverent mala use - which ideally should occur only in "prayer" or special religious occasions. i.e., don't flaunt your beads for social reasons, and sensibly decline to wear them for practical reasons (they can get hung up, caught, break or chip, etc.).
2) No harm in wearing wrist malas, if they remind you of the Dharma throughout the day as a constant assist on the Path. They may even attract fellow Buddhists with whom one might wish to discuss the Dharma. If strangers ask, explain the reason for wearing (e.g., "They help me walk my talk"); or just say you like how they look on your wrist. Thus: wrist malas are not harmful, and they may be of some help spiritually.
Could anyone address this issue, please ... ? Do you use wrist malas, and if so, is your use constant or occasional? Or ... if you do not use them, do you have specific reasons for not wearing them?
I don't wear my malas unless it involves practice. I did for a short time some years ago. It occurred to me that I was acting in a pretentious manner - I was trying to attract attention to myself - so I stopped wearing malas. If I'm in a practice setting I'll use a shirt pocket if I have one. If I have no pocket I'll wear the mala, usually around my neck. Most 108-bead malas made with 8mm beads don't don't fit my wrist well unless they're strung with elastic. A mala made with 7mm beads is about right and allows me to wear it on my wrist, but most of the time I don't wear it there.
Do what you feel is the most appropriate for you. Just because I was uncomfortable with my reasons for wearing a mala does mean you will or should be. If wearing a mala helps turn your mind to the Dharma then I don't see harm in it.
You should also keep in mind that a juzu, while still a mala has protocols for use that are different from other mahayana traditions. If you're a member of a tradition that uses juzu, you might consult with senior students in that group.