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What is a mala counter?

edited September 2009 in General Banter
What is a mala counter? How do you use it during meditation with prayer beads? Do you attach it to your prayer beads? It seems like only one set is enough. Why do they almost come with two sets like the following item.

http://www.bodhiseedprayerbeads.com/prayer-beads-a8.html

If I need to attach it to my prayer beads, where should I put it?

Comments

  • edited September 2009
    Namaste

    Im a hare krishna devotee. We use the same kind of mala beads to chant mantras on although the method for doing so is slightly differant.

    Basically - we are required to chant 16 rounds of 108 beads every day. to keep track of how many rounds we have chanted we use counters much like the ones on the link.

    every time you chant a round of a mantra - you slide a bead up or down - its really that simple. when you dont have any more beads to slide up or down you simple start over again with moving the counters.

    some of the devotees have an aditional set of counters. one counter is to count individual rounds, the other is to count each set of 16 rounds completed. does that make sense?

    we have a special bag that our beads are kept in. they have a hole for our hand and another hole to poke our index finger out of - as in buddhism - the right index finger is not used for chanting on beads. our bead counter is then kept on the outside of this bag...

    on your link it says the counters are attached to the 25th or 27th bead on your mala- although i dont quite get that as it would seem to make more sense to attach it near the buddha or head bead... but its probably just a method that im not familiar with..

    if you think it would be easier to chant with a bag and keep your counter seperate from your beads - pm me and ill send you a link to buy japa bags ... they are quite cheap and you can pick them up for just a few pounds or dollars...

    i know that ever branch of buddhism seems to have its own method for chanting on beads and i myself keep a separate set of mala beads to chant buddhist mantras on .. as far as i know there is no hard and fast method for chanting... but probably the best thing would be to go to your nearest buddhist center and ask directly .. im sure theyd be more than happy to help...

    other than that - you tube is always a good stop... just search for ''how to chant on buddhist / mala beads'' or something to that effect and im sure youll find some help .

    hope that helps some - sorry i couldnt be more specific...
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited September 2009
    In Buddhism, you count 108 beads in one direction, then commence in the opposite direction (not crossing the Guru mala bead, but going back on yourself, as it were).
    One count in one direction and then back again (216 mantras all in all), is one circuit, so you push one bead up on one of the counters (let's call it 'counter A').
    Once you have done 10 circuits (10 x 216, = 2,160) you push one bead up, on the other counter ('Counter B').
    Bring all the beads on Counter A, back down again.
    Start again, until you have completed another 216 mantras, and count the circuits again.
    Do 10 circuits, until all beads on Counter A have been used, once again.
    Push another bead up on counter B.

    Do this until all beads have been used on counter B. (10 x 2,160, = 21,600).

    This concludes the pre-requisite Mantra recitation.

    (Incidentally, the number of Mantra beads are multiples of 9. 108 = 12 x 9.
    If you add up all the figures in 21,600, they add up to 9. crazy stuff, huh?)


    You don't have to do them all at once, on the same day, in the same week or even in the same month.
    That's what the counters are for, too.
    To show you where you left off last time.....
  • edited September 2009
    Federica - that was an interesting post. Is that the general method for chanting accross all Buddhist branches ? or are there differant methods ?

    In my branch of Hinduism - one round is 108 beads.. so it makes me feel like maybe i have it easy... is there a general number of rounds a person would be expeted to chant on a daily or weekly basis ? and how is this number decided ?

    its something i find quite interesting. I have a separate set of beads that i use to chant buddhist mantras on - but up till now ive always done it the way i was taught in my temple...
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited September 2009
    I think I am right in saying this is predominantly a Mahayana Buddhist practice, specifically even probably Tibetan Buddhist.

    Palzang would be able to confirm this, and although I don't follow or practice Mahayana Buddhism, I find reciting the Tara mantra or the Blue Medicine Buddha mantra to be extremely supportive and comforting when I need to re-centre myself and concentrate on aspects in which I believe this mantra would be helpful.
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator
    edited September 2009
    As ever, Wikipedia too. :D
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