105 Bead Mala?

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shankara
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105 Bead Mala?

Post by shankara »

Someone just gave me what seems to be a mala with 105 beads (13 x 7 and 14 spacer beads), rather than 108. I did a web search and found that there were some 105 bead malas for sale. I was thinking that 105 is 5 x 21, and often it is said to chant a mantra 21x. Actually I'd always figured that maybe the 108 bead was 5 x 21 + 3 (for the Three Jewels), well, that's just my theory, maybe it's just something from Indian tradition.

Anyway, does anyone know anything about 105 bead malas? Can I use it to recite mantra? Is it common in Tibet?
javier.espinoza.t
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

it depends on the tradition.

in general is 100 + x, where x is extra beads for extra reciting and so correct one's mistakes on the 100's. again, this is very general.
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by Lingpupa »

I'm not sure that Javier is quite correct, though to be sure it varies a little. 108 is not just 100 plus a few for good measure, but is precisely a time-honoured sacred number.

I heard somewhere that Sakyas often use 111 beads, construed as the "sacred" 108 plus 3 for good measure. Sakya followers here may perhaps confirm.

So to Shankara, my advice would be no - unless you have been instructed otherwise, perhaps in connection with some specific practice, get hold of a 108 bead mala, preferably new to avoid complications with somebody else's "vibe" on it. Your mala may be a simple thing, it may be inexpensive, but it is very intimate. And 108 is the number almost every practitioner before you has used.

Fwiw
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lelopa
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by lelopa »

It seems to be 12 X 9....
A Lama said "use no more than 12 spacer beads"
Don't know who it was but I found it in the www.
It was a teaching about malas in general
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Lingpupa wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:59 am I'm not sure that Javier is quite correct, though to be sure it varies a little. 108 is not just 100 plus a few for good measure, but is precisely a time-honoured sacred number.
108 is a very useful number for counted sets of nearly anything, since it is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, 9 and 12 (and 18, 27, 36 or 54 if that's useful). Perhaps that's part of the reason it became so widely used.
The only number which compares with it for divisibility is 60, divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 and 12.

:coffee:
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shankara
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by shankara »

Lingpupa wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:59 am I'm not sure that Javier is quite correct, though to be sure it varies a little. 108 is not just 100 plus a few for good measure, but is precisely a time-honoured sacred number.

I heard somewhere that Sakyas often use 111 beads, construed as the "sacred" 108 plus 3 for good measure. Sakya followers here may perhaps confirm.

So to Shankara, my advice would be no - unless you have been instructed otherwise, perhaps in connection with some specific practice, get hold of a 108 bead mala, preferably new to avoid complications with somebody else's "vibe" on it. Your mala may be a simple thing, it may be inexpensive, but it is very intimate. And 108 is the number almost every practitioner before you has used.

Fwiw
Yeah I've got my trusty old 108 bead mala which is soon going to need restringing. I always figured that there was something about 108, seeing as the Hindus chant on 108 bead "japa" too.
Kim O'Hara wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:42 am
Lingpupa wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:59 am I'm not sure that Javier is quite correct, though to be sure it varies a little. 108 is not just 100 plus a few for good measure, but is precisely a time-honoured sacred number.
108 is a very useful number for counted sets of nearly anything, since it is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, 9 and 12 (and 18, 27, 36 or 54 if that's useful). Perhaps that's part of the reason it became so widely used.
The only number which compares with it for divisibility is 60, divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 and 12.

:coffee:
Kim
I always found this fascinating as well, I often find myself calculating the fractions of mantras I've chanted, when I'm getting to a third or whatever of the total number of mantras. Also if you subtract three (the Three Jewels in Buddhism, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in other traditions) it divides by 5 as well.
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Jangchup Donden
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by Jangchup Donden »

Lingpupa wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:59 am I'm not sure that Javier is quite correct, though to be sure it varies a little. 108 is not just 100 plus a few for good measure, but is precisely a time-honoured sacred number.

I heard somewhere that Sakyas often use 111 beads, construed as the "sacred" 108 plus 3 for good measure. Sakya followers here may perhaps confirm.

So to Shankara, my advice would be no - unless you have been instructed otherwise, perhaps in connection with some specific practice, get hold of a 108 bead mala, preferably new to avoid complications with somebody else's "vibe" on it. Your mala may be a simple thing, it may be inexpensive, but it is very intimate. And 108 is the number almost every practitioner before you has used.

Fwiw
The 111 is not just Sakyas. I've heard you have the standard 108, then 3 extra beads, one every 27 beads, for the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and then there is the big guru bead where the threads come out (which is where you turn around and go the other way so you never count it or go over it) -- so it's actually 112 beads but you're only counting 111, which actually counts as 100 for accumulations. All my malas are been like this and I'm in the Kagyu/Nygima tradition.
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by pemachophel »

Never heard of a 105 bead mala in Tibetan Buddhism. 108 is the usual number. However, my original Nyingma Teachers said to use 111. As for spacers, those Teachers said one can use a maximum of four sets of three beads. My Dudjom Tersar Teacher said a maximum of three sets of three beads.
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Terma
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by Terma »

Jangchup Donden wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:40 pm
Lingpupa wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:59 am I'm not sure that Javier is quite correct, though to be sure it varies a little. 108 is not just 100 plus a few for good measure, but is precisely a time-honoured sacred number.

I heard somewhere that Sakyas often use 111 beads, construed as the "sacred" 108 plus 3 for good measure. Sakya followers here may perhaps confirm.

So to Shankara, my advice would be no - unless you have been instructed otherwise, perhaps in connection with some specific practice, get hold of a 108 bead mala, preferably new to avoid complications with somebody else's "vibe" on it. Your mala may be a simple thing, it may be inexpensive, but it is very intimate. And 108 is the number almost every practitioner before you has used.

Fwiw
The 111 is not just Sakyas. I've heard you have the standard 108, then 3 extra beads, one every 27 beads, for the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and then there is the big guru bead where the threads come out (which is where you turn around and go the other way so you never count it or go over it) -- so it's actually 112 beads but you're only counting 111, which actually counts as 100 for accumulations. All my malas are been like this and I'm in the Kagyu/Nygima tradition.
To go a little further, I have been taught that it is best if the guru bead is white, then a red bead below, and finally a blue bead below that one (where the mala is tied), which represents the 3 kayas.
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by yagmort »

it's just missing beads. it's not that uncommon for a mala to be several beads short. i have personally seen it enough to advise every one to count a mala a few times before buying one, at least if we talk about nepal/india.
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lelopa
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by lelopa »

Terma wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:50 pm
To go a little further, I have been taught that it is best if the guru bead is white, then a red bead below, and finally a blue bead below that one (where the mala is tied), which represents the 3 kayas.
Is there an indian source of it?
I've only read this in Gelugpa teachings and have seen only very few malas of teachers of all schools
that had the 3 colors at the main-bead.
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by heart »

lelopa wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:45 am
Terma wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:50 pm
To go a little further, I have been taught that it is best if the guru bead is white, then a red bead below, and finally a blue bead below that one (where the mala is tied), which represents the 3 kayas.
Is there an indian source of it?
I've only read this in Gelugpa teachings and have seen only very few malas of teachers of all schools
that had the 3 colors at the main-bead.
https://akaracollection.com/collections/malas

This shop is run by Pakchock Rinpoches students and he is very keen on that all they sell should be as genuine as possible.

/magnus
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Terma
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by Terma »

heart wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:10 am
lelopa wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:45 am
Terma wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:50 pm
To go a little further, I have been taught that it is best if the guru bead is white, then a red bead below, and finally a blue bead below that one (where the mala is tied), which represents the 3 kayas.
Is there an indian source of it?
I've only read this in Gelugpa teachings and have seen only very few malas of teachers of all schools
that had the 3 colors at the main-bead.
https://akaracollection.com/collections/malas

This shop is run by Pakchock Rinpoches students and he is very keen on that all they sell should be as genuine as possible.

/magnus
I have gotten 2 mala's from Dharmaratna, which is from Ka-Nying Monastery. Also blessed by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche (and Phakchok Rinpoche) and these also have the trikaya beads. Rinpoche is pretty traditional as well I would say.

I think I did read about this somewhere but I will need to do a little digging.
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

Terma wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:40 pm
heart wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:10 am
lelopa wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:45 am

Is there an indian source of it?
I've only read this in Gelugpa teachings and have seen only very few malas of teachers of all schools
that had the 3 colors at the main-bead.
https://akaracollection.com/collections/malas

This shop is run by Pakchock Rinpoches students and he is very keen on that all they sell should be as genuine as possible.

/magnus
I have gotten 2 mala's from Dharmaratna, which is from Ka-Nying Monastery. Also blessed by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche (and Phakchok Rinpoche) and these also have the trikaya beads. Rinpoche is pretty traditional as well I would say.

I think I did read about this somewhere but I will need to do a little digging.
if i remember well, here one can read about.

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDe ... ortby%3D17

i made my malas accordingly.
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by pemachophel »

"Is there an indian source of it?
I've only read this in Gelugpa teachings and have seen only very few malas of teachers of all schools
that had the 3 colors at the main-bead."

I remember many, many years ago my Teacher giving us a lung for a short text on malas. I believe it was by Naropa, but it's long since I remembered the name of the text, if I ever knew it. After hearing this text, I immediately restrung my mala with Tri-kaya head-beads. In 50-some years, I've only seen one or two malas with this kind of head-beads. I've even had Tibetans ask me if I needed a bumpa-type head-bead.
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by SonamTashi »

Lingpupa wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:59 am I'm not sure that Javier is quite correct, though to be sure it varies a little. 108 is not just 100 plus a few for good measure, but is precisely a time-honoured sacred number.

I heard somewhere that Sakyas often use 111 beads, construed as the "sacred" 108 plus 3 for good measure. Sakya followers here may perhaps confirm.

So to Shankara, my advice would be no - unless you have been instructed otherwise, perhaps in connection with some specific practice, get hold of a 108 bead mala, preferably new to avoid complications with somebody else's "vibe" on it. Your mala may be a simple thing, it may be inexpensive, but it is very intimate. And 108 is the number almost every practitioner before you has used.

Fwiw
My teachers tell us to use 111 beads, and we're Nyingma/Kagyu (and primarily Nyingma). Although we have a little Gelug and Sakya mixed in as well.
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Terma
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by Terma »

This is from the very short book called "Garland of Advice", by Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche. Mine is a Kindle edition so page number may differ.

He says:

"Your mala must have 108 beads. If possible, the head of the mala should have three different levels: blue on top, red in the middle, and white on the bottom, representing the body, speech, and mind of the deities."

This is a useful little guide on mala use, with sources from various tantras, as well as Guru Rinpoche.

Hope this helps to clarify.
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by lelopa »

:thanks:
I am not able to find an Indian source... except Termas.
I don't know any Tantra, or commentaries which mention Mala-designs....
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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

lelopa wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:50 am :thanks:
I am not able to find an Indian source... except Termas.
I don't know any Tantra, or commentaries which mention Mala-designs....
i suppose that Samputa Tantra is the source of GP teachings on this, but i cannot check :(
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Re: 105 Bead Mala?

Post by Danny »

javier.espinoza.t wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:37 am
lelopa wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:50 am :thanks:
I am not able to find an Indian source... except Termas.
I don't know any Tantra, or commentaries which mention Mala-designs....
i suppose that Samputa Tantra is the source of GP teachings on this, but i cannot check :(
I have a copy somewhere of Samputa Tantra, I don’t recall from my bad memory about mentioning this type of system on malas, but of conduct in general.
To my mind there are a few mentions in the Deity,Mantra and Wisdom (Highly recommend read) about, warmth of the body, which wrist, not putting on ground etc when handling ones mala, there may even be types of seeds to use, what type for wrathful or peaceful and so forth, bodhi tree seeds the best etc. what to do if mala string breaks, rituals etc. but in all honesty, the important thing is the quality of mantra recitation (diligence, faith, devotion etc) and the amount or quantities are secondary, not to be imputed that numbers are not important, but that is a position of where one is at in terms of what we’re engaged in, lower/outer higher/inner practices, that’s the consideration and not one size fits all, considerations of generating and accumulating the required number of mantras etc.

Not heard or seen of a mala with 105. Sounds sketchy and a bit “took” if you know what I mean.
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