Mala Beads for Buddhist Prayer and Meditation
Malas, or Buddhist prayer beads, are used to aid in meditation and mindfulness by acting as a tool to count the number of times a certain thought or mantra is repeated. In modern meditation, they are often used to count the number of breaths or mental repetitions of an intention. Practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism have used prayer beads as a tool for thousands of years to help guide them to a deeper meditative state. The term ‘mala’ is a Sanskrit word for “meditation garland.”
In Buddhist prayer and meditation, certain chants and mantras are repeated hundreds and sometimes even thousands of times. Mala beads make it so that a person can focus on what is important to the prayer or mantra – the sound or meaning – rather than counting its repetitions.
How to Use Buddhist Prayer Beads (Malas) for Meditation
When using Buddhist prayer beads, one repetition of a mantra or chant is said for each bead on the strand. In Tibetan Buddhism, as the person meditating or praying is going through a repetition, they are to move their thumb in a clockwise motion around one bead. As the repetition comes to an end, they move to the next bead. Once they reach the guru stone (a bead in the mala that differs greatly in shape and size), they have completed their prayer or meditation.
Traditionally, malas are found in a 108-bead count. Non-traditional forms of Buddhism, particularly in the Western world of meditation practitioners, the bead count can also be found in 18, 27, or 54. These smaller denominations are often found in mala bracelets. These smaller divisions of mala beads can be more convenient for a person who only meditates occasionally.
Different Colors of Mala Beads in Tibetan Buddhism and Their Meanings
- Red Mala Beads: Romance, Passion, Love, Sexual Energy, Physical Energy, Physical Needs, Survival, Action, Independence.
- Orange Mala Beads: Creativity, Luck, Optimism, Charm, Achievement, Freedom, Passion.
- Green Mala Beads: Growth, Balance, Harmony, Prosperity, Love, Emotional Stability, Inner Peace.
- Blue Mala Beads: Communication, Loyalty, Peace, Truth, Calming, Eliminate Suffering, Healing, Tranquility, Wisdom.
Choose the Right Mala Beads According to Your Intentions
The description of intentions that correlate to different Buddhist prayer bead colors above isn’t the full picture when it comes to choosing the right mala beads for your needs. Another thing to think about is how portable and convenient you want your meditation aid to be. Maybe you’d prefer wearing a mala necklace as opposed to just keeping your beads at home in your meditation room. You also have to think about what you want your prayer beads to be made out of. Some of the cheaper prayer beads that people make from home are constructed of plastic and nylon, which any do-it-yourself type of person can make in less than ten minutes. Having the right color might help you focus a bit more easily on your intentions, but there’s something really special about feeling the weight of a gemstone in your hand. Many people who practice meditation swear by getting a set of authentic mala beads made of high quality materials like gemstones, rosewood, or sandalwood. These were the materials that Buddhist prayer and meditation gurus made their rosaries with thousands of years ago. They can help you better connect to nature and get more out of your meditation sessions.
Whether you meditate occasionally or you’re a Buddhist monk, we assure you that by browsing through our selection, you’ll find the set of mala beads that work best for your needs and intentions.