The History of Malas

Hold a Buddhist Mala in your hands and feel the ancient tradition, relaxation and energy field they give. Not only the cool, soothing feelings of the beads, but also the energy that the variations of crystals bring to each person.

The Mala, or Buddhist prayer beads, symbolizes a substantial link to an age-old tradition which has recently become a spiritual fashion statement from practitioners to weekend yoga enthusiasts alike. It is worn on the neck or wrapped around the wrist for purposes of calming the worries of the normal, hectic life. The crystals on the traditional 108-beaded string can be cleansed and programmed with daily meditation to keep the mind clear and focused. Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning “Garland.” A mala contains 108 beads plus one “guru” bead with an attached crystal or tassel. The guru bead provides a starting and ending point for counting the repetitions of mantras during meditation. Malas are made with a variety of semi-precious stones, seeds or wood depending on what type of energetic effect you are looking for. The spacer beads are considered decoration and not of use when practicing mantras or affirmations.

According to a lore on the origins of Buddhist Mala, King Vaidunya once said to the Buddha: “In recent years, disease and famine have swept my country. The people are distressed, and I worry about this night and day without interruption. Ours is a pitiful condition. The totality of the dharma is too profound and extensive for us to practice, given these circumstances. Please teach me just the main point of the dharma so that I may practice it and teach it to others.”

The Buddha replied: “King, if you want to eliminate earthly desires, make a circular string of 108 bodhi seeds and, holding them always to yourself, recite, ‘I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the dharma. I take refuge in the Sangha.’ Count one bead with each recitation of these three.”

The reason the mala has 108 beads is very significant. There are 108 energy lines throughout the body that connects to the heart chakra. Vedic mathematicians measure the diameter of the Sun to be 108 times larger than the diameter of the Earth. There are also 108 letters in Sanskrit. With 108 recitations of a mantra, the wearer programs the beads to represent the true universal self.


How do you use a Mala for meditation?

1) Choose a comfortable and peaceful spot away from distractions and sit with your eyes closed.

2) Take deep breaths and focus on aligning yourself with your intention.

3) If you have a mantra, start saying it aloud or chanting silently.

4) Use your right hand to hold the mala, draped between your index and middle finger. Starting at the guru bead, or crystal, use your thumb to count each bead – pulling your hand toward you as you recite the chosen mantra.

5) Do this 108 times, moving to each bead around the mala, until you reach the guru bead or crystal pendant.

6) You can stop or continue meditation.

Malas are not only for traditional use. You do not have to be religious, spiritual or reflective for wearing the bright and colorful necklaces or bracelets. A variety of celebrities are also embracing the healing qualities and inner peace found when wearing a mala.

You can use a mala for daily meditation, a reminder of intention or simply a manifestation of beautiful in the jewelry world. Malas mean many different things to different people. The mala is a symbol of freedom which resonates in continued wear.

Check out our mala collection here. Our Lily Rose brand malas come in a variety of semi-precious healing stones, wood or bodhi seeds with an exclusive double terminated hexagonal point pendant in many crystals to choose from. The crystal pendant can amplify the effects of the mala.