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Bone Mala - Ethical?

edited October 2010 in Sanghas
This might sound a little silly, but are "bone" mala actually made of bone? Is this ethical? Are the animals killed for their bones?
cozmic

Comments

  • edited June 2009
    Hi tFP,
    I was waiting to see if anyone with more knowledge than I have on this would reply but it seems not, so I'll do my best.
    Yes, bone malas will be made of bone. One may also encounter (in some Tibetan temple shrines) human skulls. They are to remind the meditator of their mortality I believe.
    AFAIK no humans or animals are killed to obtain these items. In Tibet and parts of India there are things called charnel grounds where the dead are disposed of in one way or another (long story). Bones can be subsequently collected for use.

    I only have one mala, made of wood with blue and red beads. It's been with me on some memorable occasions and I wouldn't trade it in for another, thus my lack of knowledge in this area. There's a whole world of mala lore out there if you have nothing better to do with your time.

    Hope this helps.

    Namaste
    Wisdom23
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited June 2009
    Bone malas are generally used when doing wrathful practices, such as Mahakala or Vajrakilaya. That's because these deities wear bone ornaments as a reminder of our mortality and the shortness of life.

    Palzang
  • edited June 2009
    Palzang, Can you describe or point me to a link that would clarify what a wrathful practice is? I’ve never heard of such a thing before (in relation to Buddhism) and I’m curious how and why it would be done.

    ~nomad
  • jinzangjinzang Veteran
    edited June 2009
    Just wanted to add that you shouldn't use a bone mala without asking your teacher about it first. If you don't have a teacher, you shouldn't be doing a practice that requires a bone mala.

    A wrathful practice is a practice where the deity is visualized in wrathful form. This should be pretty obvious from the image: fangs, aura of flames, bone ornaments, tiger skin around the waist, trampling on a corpse, and so on. The wrathfulness indicates power to overcome obstacles and ego.
  • edited June 2009
    jinzang wrote: »
    Just wanted to add that you shouldn't use a bone mala without asking your teacher about it first. If you don't have a teacher, you shouldn't be doing a practice that requires a bone mala.
    .

    I agree totally with Jinzang.

    _/\_


  • edited June 2009
    jinzang wrote: »
    A wrathful practice is a practice where the deity is visualized in wrathful form. This should be pretty obvious from the image: fangs, aura of flames, bone ornaments, tiger skin around the waist, trampling on a corpse, and so on. The wrathfulness indicates power to overcome obstacles and ego.

    So, in essence, meditating on a specific, wrathful deity.

    TFP, welcome to the forums!

    ~nomad
  • edited June 2009
    jinzang wrote: »
    Just wanted to add that you shouldn't use a bone mala without asking your teacher about it first. If you don't have a teacher, you shouldn't be doing a practice that requires a bone mala.

    I wasn't planning on using any mala in particular, was just curious as to their origins and whether they are ethically produced. Would you say though, that a mala shouldn't be used at all unless I have a teacher to instruct me in it's use, or just a bone mala? Surely u don't need a regular teacher just to learn to meditate, I've spoken to a lot of people on here who meditate regularly and claim they have had no instruction, but I'm very new to all this, so I can't be 100% certain?
  • jinzangjinzang Veteran
    edited June 2009
    Specifically a bone mala. I don't want to sound scary or alarmist, but a bone mala can cause certain problems if it was not properly made or is not properly used. So you should ask a teacher for permission and help in selecting a bone mala.

    Typically a mala is used to count mantra repetitions during a sadhana practice. You shouldn't do a sadhana practice without three things: an empowerment, reading transmission, and explanation. Sometimes this rule is relaxed, but it's necessary to get permission.

    If you want to use a mala for some other purpose, that's fine, it's tantric sadhanas that have the restriction, not malas. And it's okay to do meditation practices such as meditating on the breath or loving kindness, even without teacher or instruction. Though it's better to have a teacher
  • edited June 2009
    Surely u don't need a regular teacher just to learn to meditate

    Hi tFP,
    No u don't.

    Then again, you don't need a mala either!

    If you really must have one you can always purchase a normal wooden one, but what would you do with it anyway?

    Namaste
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited June 2009
    For just your average accumulation of a mantra, like, say, the OM MANI mantra, a simple wood mala or a bodhi seed mala are fine. I also would recommend not buying or using a bone mala unless you have an empowerment to do a practice suited to a bone mala.

    And btw, when we talk about a "wrathful" practice, it is important not to confuse "wrathful" with "angry". Not the same thing. Anger implies ego involvement - you are angry because you are trying to protect yourself, you ego. Wrath is quite different. It comes from a place of love and compassion, like a loving parent spanking a young child so that he/she doesn't put their hands on a hot stove and injure themselves. A peaceful practice, on the other hand, would include such deities as Avalokiteshvara or Tara, who embody compassion.

    Palzang
  • edited June 2009
    Well, if I had one, I would use it to count my chants when I meditate. What would you do with yours?!

    I was just curious as whether it was the fact it was made from bone, or just that it's a mala that was important, Jinzang seemed so stern when he said I shouldn't be using one I just wondered why.

    And unfortunately I live in a tiny village, near to a small town, and there is no one who can (or is willing) to instruct me that I've managed to find yet (though I live in hope). Hopefully I am going to uni in a large(ish) town/city next year, where there is a small buddhist community, so advice/instruction may be more readily available :)
  • edited June 2009
    And unfortunately I live in a tiny village, near to a small town, and there is no one who can (or is willing) to instruct me that I've managed to find yet (though I live in hope).

    Hi tFP,
    Do you have any preferred method of meditation? I ask, as malas and mantras are usually associated with Mahayana schools and meditations they teach.
    They are completely unnecessary for any other kind of meditation, hence my question, what you'd do with one if you had no instruction, mantra etc.

    In your situation I would recommend getting some direct, personal experience via breathing meditation, which is perhaps the single most powerful meditation ever taught by Buddha. With some measure of calm it becomes easier to understand much more of what Buddha taught.

    Don't ever fall into the trap of believing that you 'lack' anything and that you have to 'acquire' stuff to succeed. It's a merry dance you will be lead, like a dog chasing its tail. The answer is right there, in that fathom-long ferrity-princess body of yours and nowhere else.

    Namaste
  • kennykenny Explorer
    edited June 2009
    <o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com<img src=" images="" smilies="" redface.gif="" border="0" alt="" title="Embarrassment" smilieid="2" class="inlineimg"></o:smarttagtype> An important thing to consider when reading everyone’s advice is to remember not everyone is from the same tradition of Buddhism and therefore their practice might differ from the next guy. While each person’s advice is very good for what they regard as the proper practice with such a tool as a bone mala, you really need to sit back and ask yourself what you really want from your practice.
    <o></o>
    To answer your question of where the bone is obtained from with the best of my knowledge I would say it depends where you get it from, but typically the bone from your average bone mala comes from Yak, Ox, and Water Buffalo. From what I have read (and this only applies to the malas coming from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1>Nepal</st1></st1:country-region><st1:country-region w:st="on"></st1:country-region>) the bone is left over from the killing of the Yak for food. And since they do not believe in being wasteful they use every part of the animal that they can.
    <o></o>
    It is also quite possible to obtain bone malas that are made from the human skull, though these are quite rare and I have only seen these coming from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1>Nepal</st1></st1:country-region>. The bone from these is supplied by monks that live up in the <st1>Himalayas</st1> that still perform sky burials. When they die they are cut up and fed to the Vultures and their bones are typically ground up and mixed with the meat so that there is nothing left. However there are a few monasteries that save the skulls to cut little disk from it to make malas.
    <o></o>
    Hopefully this answers your original question. I would value the advice given so far as to purchasing a wooden one form normal mantra practice. I personally use a lotus seed mala myself that I got from eBay for 2 dollars. It doesn’t need to be fancy. It is a tool and nothing more. When and if you ever feel the need to progress onto meditation and such about your own mortality and the like then you could always invest in a bone mala but, start with your basics and move onwards from there, <link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5Ckmh%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->Patient Endurance.

    <link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5Ckmh%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> And remember the mind is not affected by material things, so in the end it doesn’t matter what kind you use or even if you use one at all. Good luck.
    xtine
  • edited August 2010
    I am fairly new and naive in the world of mantas and malas. i have recently set up a sacred space and embarked on new spiritual discipline, chanting, (om mani padme hum) and purchased a mala from an Oxfam store to enhance my practise. the woman at the store told me that the mala was made of bone and that it was tibetan. i have done little research ( how i got to this forum) and am reading that the Bone Mala is not for the novice. do these object posses inherent qualities or is it the meaning we give them. should i find a new mala to begin this journey? did this mala choose me? ..... i need a teacher.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited August 2010
    Trev,

    First of all, I would agree with your last statement. Find a teacher.

    Bone malas are generally used for powerful wrathful heruka and protector practices, and those practices require an empowerment to do. I don't think using a bone mala for a regular practice, like OM MANI PADME HUNG, is dangerous. I would call it more inappropriate, like using a power washer to clean your teeth. Better to use something like rose quartz, sandlewood, or, best of all, bodhi seed for a mala.

    You're in Australia? We have several sanghas there, Melbourne, Brisbane, Alice Springs, and there are numerous others ones around. I'd suggest you check some out.

    Palzang
  • edited October 2010
    I'm a tantric practitioner of the Gelug tradition and I own a mala with disc beads carved from HUMAN CRANIA (skull). Before I was empowered, I purchased the human mala from a Tibetan shop over a year earlier. I suppose, on an unconscious level, I was attracted by the material of the beads he had on display. I somehow knew right there and then that this mala was not ordinary. I kinda knew it was human remains. When I purchased it, the merchant told me to respect it as it was, indeed, human. I had the good sense to have it blessed by my teacher BEFORE I dared starting reciting my MANI mantras with it.

    From my experience, there is no danger in reciting the OM MANI PEPE HUNG mantra with whatever type of mala you have. It's a matter of being aware that, if the beads were of bones (human or animal), these were once sentient beings and must be treated with respect. I would NOT recommend idly procure a HUMAN mala. My purchasing one was more personal as I was on the quest of figuring a yidan that I will practice for life.

    When I got my empowerment and took my vows, I had the tantric master bless the human mala that I once used to recite my everyday mani's. I made a vow to myself, since that day, to use the human beads ONLY for my wrathful sadhana.

    There is, however, the danger of doing wrathful practices if one is NOT empowered (needless to say, by a qualified lama) and not well-informed of the background of the practice involved. More danger still is reciting wrathful mantras by the non-initiate who would use beads carved from human bone.

    To me, using a human mala for wrathful practice is not the point. It's more of the symbolism of the bone beads for the wrathful deity tantra practitioner. My human mala that I use to recite my Yamantaka mantra is there to REINFORCE my meditation on impermanence ... on death. And conquering death.

    I hope this helps!
  • edited October 2010
    what is the danger in using a bone mala for anything? It's just bone. And what is an empowerment?
  • BonsaiDougBonsaiDoug Simply, on the path. Veteran
    edited October 2010
    jinzang wrote: »
    And it's okay to do meditation practices such as meditating on the breath
    This is precisely how I use my bodhi seed mala; concentrating and counting breaths. Each bead is a breath - up the bead for the in-breath and down the same bead (pulling it towards me) for the out-breath.

    I find it very helpful in my concentration, and twice around a 108 bead mala results in about a 30 minute session for me.
  • edited October 2010
    username_5 wrote: »
    what is the danger in using a bone mala for anything? It's just bone. And what is an empowerment?

    An empowerment, in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, is a ritual performed only by a QUALIFIED lama from an UNBROKEN lineage to give one permission, blessing, or power (hence, empowerment) to practice of a particular Tantric path (such as Deity Yoga or Guru Yoga). Depending on the level of the tantra, the initiate takes vows of bodhichitta and life-long commitment to practice the empowered tantric practice. One is given permission to recite secret mantras (again, depending on the practice), prayers, rituals, and sadhanas that must be performed everyday for the rest of the initiate's life. The practice may also include certain visualizations, breathing techniques, deities and mandalas to meditate upon, and are permitted to go on retreats to enhance the tantric practitioner's commitments. It's a sacred bond between the student, the teacher and the tantric deity.

    Tantra practice is esoteric in nature. The initiate also takes a vow of secrecy.

    Empowerments aren't taken lightly. It isn't given to just anyone. These are serious practices and aren't exploited for selfish reasons. Empowerment are rare and are considered a blessing to receive one. They are cherished and treasured. Following a certain tantric path is practiced for the benefit not only for the initiate but for the benefit of ALL sentient beings.

    To break vows invalidates the empowerment.

    Hope this helps.
  • edited October 2010
    silmaril wrote: »

    Hope this helps.

    It does, greatly. I learned something new for sure. I can understand why someone within such a tradition would regard a bone mala as inappropriate without the required blessing, but for someone not in that tradition it would seem fine.

    As I was reading posts in this thread it seemed I was picking up warnings of potential harm if one used a bone mala without the proper blessing/empowerment. Was trying to wrap my brain around what possible harm there could be. I suppose there would be a disease risk if the bone wasn't disinfected, but other than that?
  • edited October 2010
    Basically, a tantric meditation of a deity requires you to assume that you are inseparable from the deity itself. Without proper instruction and empowerment, people tend to do things which ultimately cause harm to themselves, because they believe they are the deity and can do no wrong. This can cause psychosis.

    Another reason why a valid teacher is required in the Vajrayana, to give you a bitch slap right at the back of your head and get you practicing correctly.
  • edited October 2010
    username_5 wrote: »
    It does, greatly. I learned something new for sure. I can understand why someone within such a tradition would regard a bone mala as inappropriate without the required blessing, but for someone not in that tradition it would seem fine.

    As I was reading posts in this thread it seemed I was picking up warnings of potential harm if one used a bone mala without the proper blessing/empowerment. Was trying to wrap my brain around what possible harm there could be. I suppose there would be a disease risk if the bone wasn't disinfected, but other than that?

    Consider reciting OM MANI PEME HUNG with a HUMAN mala, especially if the mala is NOT intended for tantric mala recitations but it's in the form (in this case, human bone) that requires blessing not just from your teacher but a bonafide, qualified tantric master. Would you freak out that you're fingering on someone's remains? Any bone beads other than human would be OK. For the inexperienced, uninformed, and uninitiated, it would certainly be a form of disrespect to the deceased's remains. Consider also the karmic consequences.
  • edited October 2010
    silmaril wrote: »
    Consider reciting OM MANI PEME HUNG with a HUMAN mala, especially if the mala is NOT intended for tantric mala recitations but it's in the form (in this case, human bone) that requires blessing not just from your teacher but a bonafide, qualified tantric master. Would you freak out that you're fingering on someone's remains? Any bone beads other than human would be OK. For the inexperienced, uninformed, and uninitiated, it would certainly be a form of disrespect to the deceased's remains. Consider also the karmic consequences.

    I see your point, I guess I just don't presently agree. Personally I have never had any interest in a mala made from human bones (I have one made from cedar-it's just a bracelet and mindfulness reminder to me). I just don't see bones, human or otherwise as intrinsically different than any other material a bead could be made from.

    I suppose that as with anything else, it's the motivation or intent that matters.
  • edited October 2010
    username_5 wrote: »
    I suppose that as with anything else, it's the motivation or intent that matters.

    Yes, it's the motivation that matters, no doubt. In my case, with Yamantaka (Terminator of Death) as my deity yoga in my tantric practice, having a human mala simply helps me reinforce my motivation in my sadhana and mantra chanting that I do everyday for the rest of my life--it's not required, but I choose to. My intent is further reinforced having a tactile experience (touching human remains) the "oneness" with the Terminator of Death. The respect I have for the human remains, to me, serves as a powerful reminder what my Yamantaka practice is all about and what I'm trying to achieve with that practice.

    Remember, tantra practice is highly esoteric. Symbolism speaks out a great deal where words cannot.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited October 2010
    Most bone malas you see for sale, however, are made of yak or deer bones. You can't buy human bone malas in stores or on the internet. Otherwise the mafia would be making malas out of hits to hide them! :rolleyes:

    Palzang
  • edited October 2010
    Ideally, the cranium where these disc beads for a human mala are carved off are from a HIGHLY REVERED LAMA'S SKULL (who passed away, of course!). It's very rare and very auspicious. From what I've read and heard, only a tantric lama is qualified to use such a sacred and powerful rosary and it is passed down to his successor or student. Quite esoteric, if you ask me! It's considered a holy relic and is given the utmost respect.

    Another ideal human mala: EACH of the 108 disc bead is carved off from a DIFFERENT human skull from monks!

    Certain traditions also go to great lengths to carve the guru bead into the shape of a human skull from a human femur. These are also rare.

    My tantric human mala, however, is neither from a lama nor from 108 different monks' skulls—the beads were carved from a single human skull. Its guru bead isn't a human femur carved into a human skull; it's just your two-piece guru bead. It's not antique or vintage. Rather, it's dyed "antique" by soaking it in strong tea. Most of the "antique" dye has since rubbed off from my mani recitations over the years revealing it's natural fleshed-toned hue. Other human malas available are thoroughly bleached until white.

    Malas of this nature aren't readily available at Tibetan souvenir shops. I very much doubt that they are mass-produced or intended commercially for the average consumer. The people (I'm certain they're qualified monks or Tantric lay practitioners who do this sort of thing) know what they're doing when they "harvest" (for lack of a better term) skulls and drill the craniums into small discs with holes. I'm certain they perform rituals and say appropriate prayers as they assemble these beads into rosaries intended only for tantric use.
  • edited October 2010
    Why would we show particular respect to human remains over the remains of a yak? They are alike in being sentient beings, alike in having buddha nature. Show reverence to both or you are courting wrong view.

    There likely won't be any harm from using a bone mala for any practice though some other materials are more traditionally used and are more likely free from the energy of the being who formerly owned the bones. If you are a strong practitioner, reciting mantras will likely benefit that being but there is some chance that you will be effected by its obscuration. In any case, bone is quite porous and brittle so it is not really an ideal material for malas for everyday use.

    A mala made from the skull of a realized being is a different story. The power of that mala is not to be trifled with as the human body resonates with all the mantras recited during one's life as well as creates a a special causal connection between the owner and the original owner of the bones. You will definitely end up ripening your karma using such an implement. In the long term this is always good for you, but it will liekly cause a lot of chaos as you work through this store of past actions. However, the chances of ever encountering one of these malas for sale in a store is slim to none. There are many frauds, as with most Nepali "antiques" these days.
  • edited October 2010
    I had this odd, wishful-thinking that the skull of which my tantric mala was carved from may have belonged to me in a past life! All the more reason I'm comfortable reciting my yidam's mantra with it!
  • Bone is used, whether it be a mala or a tooth, to bring forward the ego of a student if they are hiding their real intentions. They are usually given to a dedicated initiate so as to increase their seeing. In this case usually tiger teeth or jaguar teeth are used.

    Once the tooth has been recognized as a power animal through visions, its energy lays softly in the chest as a mild sadness. Here is where one will see through the rotation of this feeling.

    Bone malas are generally protective. And yes they can bring problems if there are unresolved issues. In this case they draw to the person what they are so as to conquer what they don't want to be.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited February 2011
    Animals aren't killed for bone malas. Bones of dead animals are used. In some aspects of tibetan tradition, human bone is used for bone ornaments, skull cups, and other accoutrements, but they don't go around killing humans just for the bones. ;)
  • Hey, I have permission to share the Vajra Guru Mantra from Khenpo Tsultrim Tenzin an official Lama of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage. If you must practice with the bone Mala, this mantra is a wrathful mantra.

    http://www.rinpoche.com/gurumantra.html
  • OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM in sanskrit
    OM AH HUNG BENZA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG in Tibetan

    here is a video so you can hear the pronounciation

  • That text I posted 'The Syllable by Syllable Commentary
    Explaining the Benefits and Advantages of the Vajra Guru Mantra' is something you should read.

    With such practices, you need to first have this thought before practicing: My mother sentient beings have been suffering for a very long time, life after life. I also have been the cause of much suffering myself. In order to liberate myself and all beings, I generate the mind of Enlightenment, Bodhichitta, and Shall practice the recitation of this Vajra GUru Mantra. (say this 3 times)
  • I can't believe such a big deal is being made of the use of bone malas. Stores sell them along with malas from a variety of semi-precious stone. It's just another variety of mala. I don't see the need to mystify the mala. The important thing is the prayers you say with it, and your overall practice.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    @compassionate_warrior:
    to you it's no big deal. to others practising different traditions, it might be important. It simply depends on that person.

    But I agree that care should be taken with regard to attachment.... and attaching excessive importance to something impermanent is not skilful, always.....

    Incidentally, think on this:
    Some Buddhists - and those for example, who practise crystal therapy - are aware that all these semi-precious stones, used for malas and (other practices which have been ascribed a spiritual significance) are blown out of the ground mindlessly, for general distribution and profit.
    There is a questionable exploitative industry attached to such practice, and it's slowly destroying huge tracts of land, being mined for these stones....

    So are bone malas any more - or less - ethical than those made of semi-precious stones?
  • Hi, i have a real problem now i guess, it might be because i had tibetan human bone malas and i wasnt using them properly i need to talk to some professional, because in my country i dont know if knowledge of the people who have something to do with buddhism is enough to talk about such things, anyway it happened like 2 or 2.5 years ago in Ukraine, where im originally from, a friend of mine who was a foreigner from arabic immirates and a businessman presented me the human bone malas as a protection amulet, because i saved him, he had some problems with health and no money and i helped him with that and he was finishing studies in Ukraine and then he had problems with law and had no money absolutely so i helped him a little to get some money for food and finally i payed his ticket back to arabic immirates, he told me that previous owner of those malas was a guy from China who once went to Tibet as a child and he received those malas there, i also knew this guy back in the day when he studied in Ukraine, i knew them both (but i never knew he had such thing) he went back to China after he finished studies and gave those malas to the guy from arabic immirates they were both traders (salesmen), same as me, anyway i had those malas on my wall, for like 1.5 - 2 years maybe, ive been told that i cant put it on my neck or hand or i shouldnt count prayers on it, or have sex in front of it while they are hanging opened, in this case i have to hide it in the bag, i made few mistakes i guess because i forgot those words and its possible that i broke some rules i dont know if those rules were necessarily or not, because not the teacher told me that but the guy who owned malas before (from arabic immirates), but nothing happened, i was doing business and pretty good these 2 years everything was fine with me i was doing great, few times i picked them with anger because i borrowed money to few people and they didnt give me the money back for some time and i had nothing to eat myself so i was thinking about those people in anger but never wished death for them or nothing like that just wanted so they give the money back to me and that happened after i wished for it fast, i might have broken the rule about sexual ralationships too, i remember i lied a and i remember i was proud of myself and started saying how good i was and so on, i wasnt praying with these malas, i was respecting it, because when few times i took them off the wall and wished for things to happen those things happened, i never wished death or disease to anyone tho, just to see someone who ive lost contact with for a long time and i saw that person to get my money back the one i borrowed and i got it back, to be successful in my business and i pretty much was, but then i understood that i have to many roads with these malas and im pursuing too many aims in life like helping people but not only it was holding be cuz i was stuck in a place for a while giving advices for free and not moving on, i wanted to pursue one or two aims but not that many, i was good with my health and ok with my head i knew 5 languages i knew english, russian, polish, ukrainan really good and a little bit of spanish i learned it in english, and then i had enough of life in Ukraine and in Europe generally, i passed malas to a friend here in Ukraine telling him the same things that ive been told before here, i gave him that with good energy, because i had some success and all was fine so i wanted some success for my friend because he wasnt doing too good, the guy wasnt materialistic at all so i said its for your luck and protection and told him that it was protecting me really good, then i went to Colombia to make business trades, nothing was connected with drugs like many people would think, i was selling clothing and various souvenires from there to Europe, but then i started to feel lost kinda, i wasnt counting good and had less concentration, really tired alot of times, i kept staying there for few months i couldnt understand what was happening with my head or my lack of energy, because i could sleep and i could move but it seems i was starting to think kinda negative and i was a magnet to negative things for a while, alot of people started telling me that i have to think positive but i couldnt, so things have started falling out of my hands, and i had huge amount of black lines in my life, like no luck at all, one day after another i repeat its not connected with drugs because i wasnt using drugs, that was not what i came for to Colombia, i lost alot of money and had troubled living there all the time in difficult conditions, so i went to Panama and tried to make it there but my life there kept beating me down like one problem after another i thought its impossible how much more bad things i have to go through, then ive lost sleep and started to see less good with my right eye, i had bad dreams, i was scared so i went back to Europe and then back to Ukraine, ive met with many doctors here, checked my blood and all that, nothing was in blood no cancer no aids, then they examined my head because they thought i was crazy, and found that i have this disease called hydrocepaly internal and external like water in my head that brings pressure not critical level but i never had it before and never felt liek this before, my diagnosis says im not crazy or anything, anyway i had a talk with my friend who i gave those malas to, and some things were like a mirror, same things happened to him like he had a problem with girlfriend same as i did before going to Colombia (i gave him those malas in winter 2012 and i went to Colombia in summer 2012 so i stayed without them for a while) and right now when i got back i spoke to him he was a little bit sick but it wasnt connected with his head just with a shoulder, right now im feeling really bad, my thoughts are strange im re-living my past trying to find out what has happened to me and when exactly, i see only negative sides of things when i go down the street, medics cant help me, my visualisation is getting worse all of the sudden i seem to pick up every disease i hear about and put it on me like a sweater, they say im not schizofrenic so i cant stay in hospital so i got back home, but my mind is very dark sometimes and there are only some days when i can think clearly i started to feel really bad when i came back to Ukraine and im not doin better but constantly worse, i dont speak as good as i used to speak i was speaking perfect english and now my head is occupied with something else and it blocks my knowledges i cant follow the conversations sometimes because my mind gets carried away in my thoughts, i have strange dreams where im not even taking part of any actions im just seeing videos, it feels like my intellect and my physical power goes down and down im not an idiot or imbecil yet, but sometimes i feel very weak, can you please tell me what can i do, i want to take the malas back from my friend so he dont go down like me, maybe its some curse or ive let the bad thing inside myself when i wasnt following the rules that they told me about using malas, and wasnt keeping silence, i see a karma related connection between things that happened to me overseas and and the previous actions ive done, the previous owner of malas the guy from arabic immirates went down also like he had all and lost all, i want to be enlightened again, think clearly and if i have to go through a long road to get my mind back im ready to do it, please tell me what can i do and maybe there are some people i can talk to in Ukraine about all this situation, if not here, ill go anywhere with these malas ill sell my house or whatever and go to the temple if its needed because i cant really function well like i am now, my thoughts are too dark and medics cant cure my disease they dont know what to do with me. Ill attach the picture of the malas that ive had, so you look at it, please reply to me as soon as possible, im sorry for my english it was perfect before but sometimes i get carried away and forget how to speak properly and it scares me. Thank you very much.
  • cazcaz Veteran
    antihero said:

    Hi, i have a real problem now i guess, it might be because i had tibetan human bone malas and i wasnt using them properly i need to talk to some professional, because in my country i dont know if knowledge of the people who have something to do with buddhism is enough to talk about such things, anyway it happened like 2 or 2.5 years ago in Ukraine, where im originally from, a friend of mine who was a foreigner from arabic immirates and a businessman presented me the human bone malas as a protection amulet, because i saved him, he had some problems with health and no money and i helped him with that and he was finishing studies in Ukraine and then he had problems with law and had no money absolutely so i helped him a little to get some money for food and finally i payed his ticket back to arabic immirates, he told me that previous owner of those malas was a guy from China who once went to Tibet as a child and he received those malas there, i also knew this guy back in the day when he studied in Ukraine, i knew them both (but i never knew he had such thing) he went back to China after he finished studies and gave those malas to the guy from arabic immirates they were both traders (salesmen), same as me, anyway i had those malas on my wall, for like 1.5 - 2 years maybe, ive been told that i cant put it on my neck or hand or i shouldnt count prayers on it, or have sex in front of it while they are hanging opened, in this case i have to hide it in the bag, i made few mistakes i guess because i forgot those words and its possible that i broke some rules i dont know if those rules were necessarily or not, because not the teacher told me that but the guy who owned malas before (from arabic immirates), but nothing happened, i was doing business and pretty good these 2 years everything was fine with me i was doing great, few times i picked them with anger because i borrowed money to few people and they didnt give me the money back for some time and i had nothing to eat myself so i was thinking about those people in anger but never wished death for them or nothing like that just wanted so they give the money back to me and that happened after i wished for it fast, i might have broken the rule about sexual ralationships too, i remember i lied a and i remember i was proud of myself and started saying how good i was and so on, i wasnt praying with these malas, i was respecting it, because when few times i took them off the wall and wished for things to happen those things happened, i never wished death or disease to anyone tho, just to see someone who ive lost contact with for a long time and i saw that person to get my money back the one i borrowed and i got it back, to be successful in my business and i pretty much was, but then i understood that i have to many roads with these malas and im pursuing too many aims in life like helping people but not only it was holding be cuz i was stuck in a place for a while giving advices for free and not moving on, i wanted to pursue one or two aims but not that many, i was good with my health and ok with my head i knew 5 languages i knew english, russian, polish, ukrainan really good and a little bit of spanish i learned it in english, and then i had enough of life in Ukraine and in Europe generally, i passed malas to a friend here in Ukraine telling him the same things that ive been told before here, i gave him that with good energy, because i had some success and all was fine so i wanted some success for my friend because he wasnt doing too good, the guy wasnt materialistic at all so i said its for your luck and protection and told him that it was protecting me really good, then i went to Colombia to make business trades, nothing was connected with drugs like many people would think, i was selling clothing and various souvenires from there to Europe, but then i started to feel lost kinda, i wasnt counting good and had less concentration, really tired alot of times, i kept staying there for few months i couldnt understand what was happening with my head or my lack of energy, because i could sleep and i could move but it seems i was starting to think kinda negative and i was a magnet to negative things for a while, alot of people started telling me that i have to think positive but i couldnt, so things have started falling out of my hands, and i had huge amount of black lines in my life, like no luck at all, one day after another i repeat its not connected with drugs because i wasnt using drugs, that was not what i came for to Colombia, i lost alot of money and had troubled living there all the time in difficult conditions, so i went to Panama and tried to make it there but my life there kept beating me down like one problem after another i thought its impossible how much more bad things i have to go through, then ive lost sleep and started to see less good with my right eye, i had bad dreams, i was scared so i went back to Europe and then back to Ukraine, ive met with many doctors here, checked my blood and all that, nothing was in blood no cancer no aids, then they examined my head because they thought i was crazy, and found that i have this disease called hydrocepaly internal and external like water in my head that brings pressure not critical level but i never had it before and never felt liek this before, my diagnosis says im not crazy or anything, anyway i had a talk with my friend who i gave those malas to, and some things were like a mirror, same things happened to him like he had a problem with girlfriend same as i did before going to Colombia (i gave him those malas in winter 2012 and i went to Colombia in summer 2012 so i stayed without them for a while) and right now when i got back i spoke to him he was a little bit sick but it wasnt connected with his head just with a shoulder, right now im feeling really bad, my thoughts are strange im re-living my past trying to find out what has happened to me and when exactly, i see only negative sides of things when i go down the street, medics cant help me, my visualisation is getting worse all of the sudden i seem to pick up every disease i hear about and put it on me like a sweater, they say im not schizofrenic so i cant stay in hospital so i got back home, but my mind is very dark sometimes and there are only some days when i can think clearly i started to feel really bad when i came back to Ukraine and im not doin better but constantly worse, i dont speak as good as i used to speak i was speaking perfect english and now my head is occupied with something else and it blocks my knowledges i cant follow the conversations sometimes because my mind gets carried away in my thoughts, i have strange dreams where im not even taking part of any actions im just seeing videos, it feels like my intellect and my physical power goes down and down im not an idiot or imbecil yet, but sometimes i feel very weak, can you please tell me what can i do, i want to take the malas back from my friend so he dont go down like me, maybe its some curse or ive let the bad thing inside myself when i wasnt following the rules that they told me about using malas, and wasnt keeping silence, i see a karma related connection between things that happened to me overseas and and the previous actions ive done, the previous owner of malas the guy from arabic immirates went down also like he had all and lost all, i want to be enlightened again, think clearly and if i have to go through a long road to get my mind back im ready to do it, please tell me what can i do and maybe there are some people i can talk to in Ukraine about all this situation, if not here, ill go anywhere with these malas ill sell my house or whatever and go to the temple if its needed because i cant really function well like i am now, my thoughts are too dark and medics cant cure my disease they dont know what to do with me. Ill attach the picture of the malas that ive had, so you look at it, please reply to me as soon as possible, im sorry for my english it was perfect before but sometimes i get carried away and forget how to speak properly and it scares me. Thank you very much.

    I would get in touch with a Buddhist teacher If I were you, There are plenty about who can advise you on how to control your mind and overcome negativity.
  • This might sound a little silly, but are "bone" mala actually made of bone? Is this ethical? Are the animals killed for their bones?

    If animals is killed for bone mala, then it is not ethical. If the animals died of natural cause in the forest etc, one should either treat it as human remains and bury it or chant mantra, buddha name for a favorable rebirth on behalf. I think it will be recognized as witchcraft, medium sort of religion instead for bone of living beings to be used for practice. It is seen as natural for human to chew bone of animals but using bone as beads usually the mindset is "dieties" related.
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited January 2013
    Bones are not physically more or less significant than any other substance used for malas. But because our mind can attach significance (or stronger emotion) to bones, it's good to follow the advice given earlier in the thread on consulting a teacher for the best use of a bone mala. Not because bone is a magical substance, but because of our own mind's reaction to it, a reaction which can be helpful if used skillfully, or be disturbing and distracting if used without a teacher's helpful advice.

    In modern times, with factory farms now operating nearly everywhere and cheap, mass-produced goods flooding the market, it can be hard or impossibe to tell whether a bone mala is actually Tibetan and/or produced in accordance with Buddhist ethics regarding the bones used.
  • Well im 99% sure the malas i owned were for real and came from Tibet and they were pretty strong working and old malas, i used to read a little about philosophy when my english was better i wasnt buddhist yet i never accepted the faith completely, i think i want to do it now because i see karma relation to everything that happened to me, im not baptised to any other churches too so i dont have connection to catholicism or christianity or whatever other religion, but i was playing with the thing thinking im so good and powerful holding it in my hands with wrong thoughts and anger to certain people, with pride and i was talking alot lately how succesful i am and strong i am, or i was holding it sometimes in search of wealth and got it all and then lost it all plus alot of health, now my eyes geting worse, im getting weak and cold like ive said the doctors cant find anything that strong just a light head problem which couldnt cause symptoms that i tell them about, everybodys is shocked thats what they say, im scared to be honest i want to accept the faith completely and fix my mistakes if its possible somehow, im loosing knowledge of languages i used to know 4 perfectly and a bit of spanish now i cant even write good in english which never was a problem it all gets blocked, i forget directions that i used to know perfectly or names, also i never went to a place where they teach buddhism, we dont have that many schools here only the diamond way line of karma kagyu if im not mistaking, sometimes i doubt they know about such things but maybe im mistaking, i feel the words written above about psychosis and karmic consequences, because i think i had lack of respect holding those beads, or its just stupid thinking, if im not buddhist, and wasnt counting mantras with them nothing could result these consequences what do you think, could i just screw my karma by holding such beads with wrong thought?
  • Thr original malas are the joints of the fingers. With the forefinger of the dominant hand one touches the finger tips of the the other hand..then each of the middle finger joints then the knuckles..then one switches hands,and does the same on that hand....
    using a mantram of choice with each joint touched, The most common Theravada mantra is " Buddho ";
    This " mala" is cheap. hard to lose, and always to hand. And beautifully fashioned by millions of years of evolution.
    lobster
  • Can they be used for making auspicious soup?
    caz
  • hey cool question, well the bone mala comes fron yak bone, and only the bones from
    animals that passed away natrally are used it also honers the animal
    and teaches us not to fear death as we meditate with the bone mala
    peace and joy
    namaste
    Cozmic
  • Hi again, terrible news, the last owner of the malas (the one i passed the malas to before going to south america) tore em apart like about 1 month ago while being drunk and thinking hes bad cursed or something, ive told him never wear it on ur neck or count prayers on it or never tear em apart or have sex in front of it, ive just heard about the fact that they were torn apart when i called him today, because something was not right this month i wanted to take it back, he seems to be loosing hes mind now, im still holding, but my mind is dark too, this whole month i was feeling weaker and weaker, sickness after sickness, no luck, ive contacted with the owner of malas before me, the guy who gave em to me (he is overseas in immirates) he lost hes job and bad luck happens all month too, and he told me that one of the previous owners (before him) jumped off the window there are about 4 owners of these malas that i know about here in europe and china, i dunno about owners in tibet of course but we seem to get down real hard now if the malas were torn apart and it was a very serios spell on em like spell of luck, what can we all do to survive now please help me guys ive seen few good answers above by: jinzang, silmaril, dorje and LujanMatus. Psychosys, and endless carmic consequences, bad lucks thats what srarting to happen with all of us. Help me out guys and 3 more people who are still alive cuz we are in big trouble... Thanks.
  • See a psychologist, for a start...
    mfranzdorfBrianBhanteLucky
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    You need medical help, not spiritual. If you seriously believe in this mumbo-jumbo, and that you are going crazy because of some bones, you need to see a doctor.
    BhanteLucky
This discussion has been closed.