I know it’s a form of attachment, but I do carry my mala everywhere. Even after my mala burst spontaneously off my wrist at a restaurant (and here’s me scrambling around saying, “Excuse me, sorry, excuse me…” as I collected 108 beads that had rolled under tables), even after all that, I still wear my mala wrapped around my left wrist.
Is it attachment?
Yes, I suppose. But it’s also a reminder. I can feel it on my wrist, reminding me to be mindful. Since I’m not advanced in my practice, this reminder helps. But there is a love of making malas, holding them, wearing them, and counting mantras on them that can be not insignificant. I believe I count 500 or so mantras a day, but I find it takes me into a state of mindful stillness faster than any other method I’ve tried. I also find it beneficial. I feel more energy, alertness, and—and here I’m being “superstitious”—I feel luckier. When I have a problem, I chant mantras. Maybe it’s the stillness and clarity that helps me solve my problems. Maybe something more. I don’t know, but I feel content and calm and meditative when I chant mantras and count on my mall. I know it’s a dependency. But, for now, in my state of awareness, it’s a helpful one.
I also like making them. My favorite present for those close to me is a handmade mala. Making malas is another form of meditation.
– Dave Lang
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Author | Buddha Weekly
Dave Lang contributes to several online magazines. He is Buddhist, more or less a "Chan Buddhist" — and his special bow goes to Bodhidharma, his Dharma Hero. He is also an avid martial artist.