FAQ: Buddhist Prayer Bead Mala
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ: Monk Mala Buddhist Prayer Bead Products
FAQ: Most frequent questions and answers about Monk Mala Products
Buddhist prayer beads or Meditation Mala (Sanskrit: mālā “garland”) are a traditional spiritual device used to
a) Count the number of times a mantra or breaths are taken during meditation or
b) Used as a piece of magical jewelry blessed with a special charm
The Buddhist Mala derived from the Hindu ‘japa mala’ used in meditation and was adapted to also include being a magical charm of protection. Buddhist tradition counts the beads at 108, signifying the mortal desires of mankind. As Buddhism spread and was influenced by various cultures, each sect would develop their own traditions associated with the Mala.
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Most of our items are sourced from local artisans in Thailand, Burma and India. Some of the items (with the silver guru bead) we do reassemble in Chiang Mai, using local people on a part time basis.
The Truth is the original answer to the number of beads on a Prayer Bead Necklace or Mediation Mala is now unknown. Each sect of Buddhism, Yoga, each different country, each different culture – all have various reasons for 108 beads. But almost exclusively throughout the centuries the number of beads have remain constant, while the explanation for the number have grown.
From a simple meditation point of view, each Japa Mantra is to be said 100 times. Having 108 counting beads on the meditation mala allows for 8 mistakes, miscounts or lapses in concentration.
Fair Trade International is a wonderful organization that tries to ensure than poor rural people are not taken advantage of by larger Western companies. It focuses heavily on using the Fair Trade label as a marketing tool.
The truth is, almost all of the suppliers of items have been in business for years, if not generations. They set their pricing structure and have done so successfully to raise families send their children to college etc.
These Artisans just do not need any assistance from Fair Trade as there are no western companies dictating pricing or living conditions. Essentially we are beyond Fair Trade, with the Artisans themselves deciding who they will supply and for how much.
Buddhist Prayer Beads serve the additional function of being a Protection Charm as well as a counting device. If you are going to have a magical charm to protect you and bring you good luck – you might want to have it blessed by an Expert.
The Sak Yant Monks that bless each Mala, have spent years training and serving the needs of the Thai community providing special and powerful magical Buddhist Blessings. Each Mala is given a 2 minute 4 fold blessing that consists of
The advent of Yoga or Western Mala is simply another evolution in the use of Prayer Beads adapted and used by (mostly) Yoga and spiritual practitioners in the West. There are plenty of websites and yoga studios that sell beautiful jewelry that people can choose to use as a Meditation Mala. There are not so many websites that sell the genuine Buddhist Prayer Beads.
Monk Mala is not anti Yoga orientated inspired Prayer Beads, we know full well that as westerners discover Asian Philosophies and Culture it will become more Westernized to better fit the existing world view. We offer Original Buddhist Mala, with beads that are used by Monks – Simple as that. Monk Mala’s are handmade by local village crafts persons, and does not use mass produced beads from factories. Our product will not be touched by Western hands until after it leaves the country in the postal system. Our product is for those on the spiritual path and used as a reminder of detachment from the Material desires. This we feel should not be done with an expensive piece of multi gemstone jewelry.
Monk Mala is a sales off shoot to Sak Yant Chiang Mai, a private tours company in Chiang Mai Thailand. Sak Yant Chiang Mai offers private intimate tours to Sak Yant Temples and Monks to get a Sak Yant Tattoo and Magical Blessing. Many of our customers inquired about taking their Mala to the Monks for a blessing as well, and we discovered that the Buddhist Mala’s they had purchased in the Markets where not strictly genuine.
The Monks remarked that the Mala guests where bringing to them was a little bit like using a child’s stick figure drawing as a Facebook profile photo. It would do – but hardly a real representation of the Buddhist tradition. The Monks advised us where they purchased the real products and we started to offer these for our Sak Yant Guests.
As our Sak Yant guests arrived home, many of their friends also wanted to have genuine Buddhist Prayer beads blessed by Monks. The demand for this totally unique product offered us an opportunity to help more local people – so we created this website.
There are a few things that separate Monk Mala from other companies
- We only provide genuine Prayer Beads made by local people and often used by real Monks
- We are located in Thailand and source our product from local producers from Asian countries – NOT Chinese factories
- Our Mala’s come pre-packed with a Magical Blessing of Protection
- Several people are part of our supply chain – ensuring your purchase supports many families
- We only sell traditional Buddhist Prayer Beads, made into simple Mala necklaces. Some of our products have a smidgen of glitz in the way of a silver guru
This baffles us here at Monk Mala as well, the only explanation I can give is that some websites are making a huge mark-up on their products. If we were to source our complete Mala product (or just the beads themselves) from mass producing Chinese factories we could probably sell the same Mala as you see at our competitors for $5-10. In fact, we often see Mala that would cost us $1-2 to purchase, being sold on EBay for 20-30 dollars.
However, our focus is on helping the local craftspeople and the Monks and Temples themselves as a co-operative effort. Sourcing the genuine item, actually takes a lot of time as the small individual makers of our Buddhist Prayer Beads spend hours making the Mala, and have limited time and raw materials. In addition each Monk that gives the blessing receives a donation of about $5 for their Temples. Combine this with postage of about $10 all those involved make about the same amount in profit.
I guess the bottom line reality is, that it does not cost as much to live in the countries that we get our Prayer Beads from. All of our suppliers live in houses that would be considered ‘shacks’ in the western world; they have no modern comforts, and therefore no expenses of modern living in the West. We purchase the beads from them at local market rates, get them blessed with a donation to the Monks, and package them to ship.
FAQ: Shipping and Returns
FAQ: Most frequent questions and answers about shipping and returns
Sadly Shipping costs and time (for shipping to the USA) are the biggest problems for any Thailand based business trying to establish itself. Shipping to any other country does not seem to have the costs or delays that occur with America.
To combat the shipping options to America we use a shipping agent, who sends items in bulk by air, and then uses USPS domestic postage. This process reduces what could be 6-8 weeks delivery to 2 weeks 3 maximum.
We will pack and ship your item within 1-2 days of receiving your order. Your can find out more about the shipping options here
We offer 3 options
1) Thai Post (International) 1-4 weeks
2) Thai Post EMS Courier (International) 7-10 days
3) USPS (For American Orders) 1-2 weeks
The shipping costs are determined by weight until you spend $50 with us and the standard International shipping becomes free.
The honest truth is, that it is not worth buying just a single item from us. The cost of shipping many times matches the cost of the item when low weights are being shipped.
Shipping costs and options are presented in the checkout page before you finalize your order. Each shipping cost is independent based on the item and the country it is being sent too.
Jewelry is obtained locally in Thailand and from Burma. Most of the stone items come from Burma and are made by local artisans and sent to us.
All items are shipping from Chiang Mai Thailand.
We ship Worldwide.
Items sent to America will contain shipping tracking that starts once the items hit US soil.
Shipping normally occurs within the time frame given above.
Tracking not Updated:
Many times tracking with Thai Post will seem to not move. The items are scanned when leaving Thailand and often many countries do not scan again until the item is out in delivery. In this case you do not have to worry until the usual time frame has been exceeded. While it is slightly annoying your postal service does not scan at every stage like a courier, this is beyond out control.
Delivery past expected time frame:
Covid-19 has effected shipping around the world. Post Offices have closed for a couple weeks due to infections. This news does not reach Thailand. Your best option here is to contact the local postal service in your country yourself.
As much as we are annoyed just as much as a customer receiving a late item, the reality is, a Phone call from Thailand to your local Postal Service can not be made as often or as effectively as you yourself can do.
Failing this you can contact us and we will try to have the package tracked from this end.
We hope you love all our products. But for whatever reason, you are not pleased with them and would like to return or exchange, we understand.
We will accept return/exchange on all items that were not purchased from any special-on-site sales or any clearance collection.
All we ask is that the products are returned to us in new condition and unaltered.
We will accept returns 30 days from the day our products are shipped out. Please make sure you contact us within this 30-day, or you may not be eligible to make the return/exchange.
To initiate the return/exchange process, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your order number and item(s) from that order that you wish to return.
Return shipping is at your cost
How to contact us
Easiest way is
Come and visit us at our Office
27/11 Arak Road
Chiang Mai, 50200
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