Having a Monk Blessed Buddhist Mala is great, lets learn How to use Tibetan/Buddhist Prayer Beads Necklace for Meditation.
Counting Mantra with a Japa Meditation Necklace
A Buddhist Mala Necklace is a string of 108 prayer beads that when used in meditation is primarily for counting mantras or breaths taken. Prayer Mala’s are meant to ground the practice of meditation and recitation of mantras. Prayer Bead Necklace Mala’s can also be used in ways other than just meditation. They are often used for a Talisman and Charm.
Having and using a Prayer Bead Necklace Mala can help expand your meditative and spiritual practice when used in Meditation and help protect you as a magical Charm
How to use Tibetan/Buddhist Prayer Beads Mala Necklace as a Japa Meditation Necklace
The easiest and most popular form of Meditation in both Hindu and Buddhist forms is the called Mantra Meditation or Japa Meditation. Mantras are either a meaningless slogan or spiritual statement used to focus the wandering mind and gain mental stillness and clarity.
Using a Meditation Mantra is called Japa Meditation and each Mantra is repeated hundreds or even thousands of times during a Japa meditation practice. Focusing on the Mantra, allows the meditating person to clear the intrusive conscious thoughts to zero in on just one thought and aids in the purpose of stilling the Mind.
The purpose of meditation is to still the mind, and keeping track of how many mantras you recite during your Japa meditation requires concentration and active conscious thinking. The mala is used so that one can focus on the meaning or sound of the mantra rather than counting its repetitions. One repetition of the mantra is usually said for each bead while turning the thumb around each bead.
This process is repeated and when arriving at the head or guru bead, the person meditating turns the mala around and then goes back in the opposing direction. Typically one cycle of Mantras is about 100, (sometimes 108) but generally what ever philosophy of Japa you are using, by the time you reach 108 counts you start a new cycle.
If more than 108 repetitions are to be done, or the style of mediation requires suggested numbers of mantra repetitions then counting devices can be added to the Mala.
How to use Tibetan/Buddhist Prayer Beads: Holding the Mala
First Identify the guru bead. The guru bead, will hang perpendicular to the counting beads at the middle bottom of the Mala Necklace. The guru bead is intended to be used as a place of rest and contemplation during meditations and mantra recitations. Monk Mala will have Guru beads that are connected to a tassel.
The guru bead will be where you begin and end your meditation or mantra recitation.
Place the mala in your right hand as some cultures use the left hand for toilet cleanup and it is consider impure. However, there are many other cultures and traditions that do not specify in which hand you need to place the mala. If the tradition of meditation you are using specifies a hand for counting it is best to use that hand. Otherwise use what is most comfortable for you.
Hang the mala on your third finger. Place your mala on your third, or ring, finger before you begin reciting mantras or meditating. The third finger has a symbolic significance in many Buddhist traditions. Placing the mala on your third finger will also allow you to efficiently cycle through the mala throughout your meditation and mantra recitations.
How to use Tibetan/Buddhist Prayer Beads Counting the Mala Beads
Your use your thumb to rotate through each bead and count (each breath or mantra). Your thumb should allow you to easily move through each bead that is held by one of your fingers. Using your thumb to pull each bead toward you and cycle through your mala until you reach the Guru Bead.
Continue until you reach the Guru Bead, but do not count it. At this point you can take a moment for reflection and decide if you will continue or stop your meditation. If you would like to end your meditation, simply remove the mala and put it in a clean and safe place.
If you wish to continue …..
Flip the mala around and continue counting. If you are reciting your mantra in repetitions, or want a longer meditation, flip the mala around once you reach the guru bead. Take the mala and turn it so the guru bead is just below your thumb. Once your Mala is in the start position again, continue counting each bead as you have done throughout your meditation or mantra recitation.
Image Source Acknowledgement: This article “How to use Buddhist Prayer Beads” has been adapted from, and images used from Wikihow