How to Meditate with a Mala

Comment méditer avec un Mala

Often used in meditation, the Mala is increasingly popular in Western countries. These original "jewels" are sometimes used without real knowledge of their origin, the meaning of their pearls or even their mode of operation. Yet, if you adhere to Buddhism or Hinduism, you will find that this gem holds spiritual senses beyond its appealing aesthetic.

What is the Mala?

For a fashion fan, this is a simple rosary with an original design, which can be worn as a multi-strand bracelet or a necklace and whose only function is to perfect the look. But when you dig deep, you see that it has a much more meaningful meaning.

The Mala comes from an ancestral tradition of Asian countries, more precisely of those who practice Buddhism or Hinduism. Over time, it is also used by practitioners of yoga and meditation.

"Mala" in Sanskrit language translates to "meditation garland". As its name suggests, its primary function is to help with meditation or "Japa". The latter is distinguished from other techniques by the recitations. It consists of saying mantra prayers during your meditation session by counting the pearls one by one.

The usefulness of the Buddhist Mala differs from one religion to another. While in Hinduism it is a protective tool with spiritual power, in Buddhism it is used to more easily count the number of mantras during meditation.

The traditional Buddhist mala necklace is usually made of 108 wooden or natural stone beads. The first 100 pearls correspond to the 100 Mantras and the last 8 allow you to make up for it in case of mistakes or omissions. The enunciation of these sacred formulas allows to release the conscience, to fill the desire and to lead to healing.

108, a rational number

According to ancestral beliefs, the number "108" comes from the multiplication of 9 by 12, two symbolic figures for both Hindus and Buddhists.

First, the 9 represents knowledge, altruism and compassion. It also has important spiritual significance. The altitude of the Ganges river is 9 °. In the galaxy, there are 9 planets. As for the number 12, it is known for its healing property.

Hindus also believe that the number 108 brings together the three sacred numbers: 1 which symbolizes divinity, 0 which is emptiness and 8 which represents infinity. Buddhists, them, conceive that these numbers designate the 108 names of Buddha, the 108 stages that this being went through to reach the Nirvana as well as the 108 postures of Yoga.

Mala, a significant gem

Indeed, the Mala is also considered a jewel. In this sense, it expresses cheerfulness, positive energy and the aspiration of the spirit. It is made from materials from the belly of the Earth. Examples include gold, sacred stones and gems of light.

The selection of colors and materials also has their meaning. You should choose them according to the purpose of your meditation.

The white Buddhist Mala, made with crystal, sandalwood or glass is suitable for care by mantratherapy.

Yellow malas, for example made with gold, yellow agate or yellow tiger eye, increase energy, promote luck and success.

When it is amber in color, usually made of wood like sandalwood, oud wood or amaranth, it helps to cure eye problems.

Finally, we generally use the red Malas bracelets, created with precious stones such as red agate or sandalwood to have control over one or more individuals.

Exceptional, the Bodhi Seed Mala also called Buddha Eyes is more coveted in the recitation of mantras for healing. Over time, its color alternates from gray, to yellow, then red, then brown or vice versa.

Now let's move on to practice, step by step

Now that you know all about the meaning of the Mala and theusefulness of its components, you are ready to use this spiritual gem for your next meditation.

Step 1 : Choose a quiet place, away from noise and any other form of disturbance. Lay out your meditation mat and then sit in a lotus position, cross-legged or seiza.

Close your eyes to facilitate concentration. Breathe gently and deeply to free your thoughts and then focus all your attention on prayer.

2nd step : Now recite your first mantras, quietly or aloud as you wish. Your Mala which will serve as a benchmark. While Hindus recommend holding it in the right hand and using the thumb for counting, Buddhists prefer the left hand and shell with the index finger and thumb of the right hand. At each end of prayer, change grain.

The recitations are to be stated only on the 108 beads. The pearl guru is excluded. Its role is to signal only the starting point as well as the end.

Step 3: After going around the Mala, you can continue the meditation and continue the recitations, but this time in reverse until you reach the first bead. Depending on your needs, you can start over as many times as you want. However, it is always recommended to finish the 108 digits.

La Mala, for another use

Besides the practice of meditation, you have the option of using the Mala for everyday use. Like a rosary, it can help you count prayers without ever getting lost. It is also useful to more easily see the duration of a session. In addition to its spiritual side, this jewel is multifunction.

Do you have a Buddhist mala? How do you use it?


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Asian Artisan Blog - Crafts, Culture and Traditions of China and Asia

10 livres interdits en Asie

Banned books in Asia

Wabi sabi : l’art japonais de la perfection et de l’imperfection

Perfect and imperfect art in Japan

Découvrez l’histoire et les secrets des geishas

Discover the history and secrets of geishas