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What are Mala beads and How to Use Them

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What are Mala beads
Mala beads are a form of prayer beads and are considered the Buddhist Rosary. They can be made from various materials. Some are made from beads made from various wood, different crystals or even seeds. Traditionally a Buddhist bead necklace is made from either the wood of a Bodhi tree or from Bodhi seeds. The Bodhi tree is symbolic to Buddhists as Prince Siddhartha Gautama is said to have meditated under a Bodhi tree until he becomes enlightened, becoming the Lord Buddha. Many Buddhist Temples have Bodhi trees growing in them. These are said to be cuttings from the very same tree Buddha reached enlightenment under and are therefore viewed sacred and also believed to represent the Buddha's presence.

How To Use Mala Beads
Mala beads are used in meditation where a Mantra is used and act as a way to count how many times the Mantra has been repeated. You can use any Mantra but a very popular Mantra used by Buddhists is Om Mani Padme Hum (which is pronounced OHM MAH NEE PAHD MAY HUM). Alternatively you can use any Mantra or sentence you feel comfortable with as this would work just as well. Traditionally each Mala comprises 108 beads plus a Guru bead. 108 is also a significant number in eastern thought. The Muktika Upanishad contains 108 canonical Upanishads. Ancient Buddhist teachings suggest there are 108 invisible threads connecting each person to the divine. Repeating a mantra 108 times awakens these threads, connecting us to the divine. The purpose of the Mala is simply to enable that the Mantra is repeated 108 times. To achieve this simply place your Mallah Beads in your hand with your beads hanging over your middle finger. The middle finger is used as the index finger is considered in the east to represent the ego and the ego is to be avoided while meditating and repeating Mantras. Use your thumb to past each Mala bead over your middle finger. Each time this is done either mentally or verbally say your chosen Mantra. Repeat this process by using your thumb to pass another bead over your middle finger while repeating your Mantra. Once you have reach the Guru bead your meditation is complete and you have repeated your Mantra 108 times.

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