The " mālā ", Which means" garland of pearls "or" flower necklace "in Sanskrit (also called" Twenga »In Tibetan or « fó zhū"(佛珠)in Chinese, meaning "Buddha beads"), is a Buddhist and Hindu bracelet used when reciting prayers called Mantras. This rosary is traditionally made of 108 wooden or stone beads, but some cults and cultures use fewer beads.
In Buddhism and Hinduism, the number 108 has very special religious meanings, and represents many symbols and beliefs across cultures and traditions. Here are a few :
Traditionally, monks and devotees hardly ever part with their mala, and wrap it around their hand during prayer (mantras), and slide the beads onto the index finger with the help of the thumb. Usually, Buddhists wrap it around the left hand, and shell the beads by pulling them towards oneself with the right hand, symbolizing the act of bringing beings out of suffering and charging one's body with positive energy. However, Hindus wrap it around the right hand, with the left hand considered unclean in India. The use of mala therefore varies from country to country or cult to another.
Devotees usually use it to count the number of times they recite the name of Buddha. Note that during some prayers, worshipers must repeat the name of the Buddha or a deity more than 1,000 or 10,000 times! Hence the use and necessity of this amulet, so that the devotee can concentrate on reciting or chanting the mantra.
In modern Asian culture, malas are used as fashion accessories and jewelry, and are believed to purify the mind and fend off obstacles such as disease as well as negative energies and thoughts.
Nowadays, the mala has become a fairly common fashion accessory in Asia, but still retains a spiritual aspect and connotation. They can be found on almost every street corner in China, with different levels of quality. Some malas are made in factories on production lines. Others are made and assembled by hand, and then receive a monk's blessing. Depending on its attributes, the price of a mala can therefore vary greatly, some even selling for several thousand euros!
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