We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. 

-Gautam Buddha

Buddhist culture has led the world towards enlightenment and hope towards a peaceful life. The practices preached by Buddhism can lead one towards the path of spirituality. One such practice that can lead you to peace is chanting and meditation. While there are numerous ways to chant, Buddhist monks use Bodhi Seed Prayer Bead to chant. Bodhi Seed Mala name comes from Bodhi Tree, the sacred fig tree under which Buddha is said to achieve enlightenment. 

BuddhaHome brings you the divine Bodhi Seed Prayer Beads from Nepal, the place where Gautam Buddha was born. The Prayer Mala is of full length and has 108 beads. It has an adjustable string with tassel and Guru beads. The Bodhi Seed Mala is considered sacred and brings you closer to Buddha, the one who laid the middle path to enlightenment. 

Bodhi Seed Prayer Beads History

The Bodhi Tree holds a special place in Buddhism culture. The son of Shakya ruler, Siddhartha later became Gautam Buddha by attaining enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya. Later, to feel the divinity of the tree, Buddhist monks started using Bodhi Mala. If you dive deep into the history of its terminology, you will get to know that Mala is a Sanskrit word for garland. The word came into existence when Hindu culture started presenting flower garlands to their spiritual gurus. The culture was adopted by many, and Buddhism was one of them. This shows the connection of Buddhism with Hinduism. As Buddhism originated in India, it adopted some aspects of the Hindu culture prevalent in the land, and one such practice is reciting mantra using Japmala. 

Ideally, the Prayer Mala has 108 beads representing the impurities. Buddhist monks wear them as a symbol stating that they have overcome the impurities. However, one can find different prayer beads with bead count ranging from ½ of 108 to quarter. The mantras recited along the meditation mala beads are for calming the mind and soul to step ahead towards enlightenment. The Bodhi Seed Mala beads become beautiful over time due to continuous usage. This also signifies the beauty of the soul.  

BuddhaHome Bodhi Seed Prayer Beads
Bodhi Seed Prayer Bead

Anatomy of Bodhi Seed Mala

‘Bodhi’ seeds used in Bodhi mala are a misnomer. Apparently, the seeds aren’t associated with the Bodhi tree. Mostly the mala beads are made of seeds of a tree which is closely related to the Rudraksha (Elaeocarpus ganitrus). The fig tree has a tiny seed that couldn’t fit in the category of beads. The seeds from which Bodhi Seed Prayer Bead is made is native to Nepal. The scientific name of which isn’t determined yet.

In diameter, the Bodhi mala bead measures approximately 10 – 12 mm. The bodhi seeds are dried, drilled for holes, and then strung into malas. The process hasn’t undergone any changes for almost a millennia. The quality is hard, durable, and has a powerful smell. After using it substantially, it turns into a pleasant patina bead mala. They are quite large for the wrist (a full-length mala); therefore, the Bodhi mala is mostly worn around the neck. 

Types of Prayer Beads

A standard mala for chanting usually contains 108 beads. As mentioned above, the number represents the spiritual center coordinates of the universe. The guru beads, the largest bead in the Mala, are tied at the top with a tassel. This represents the sacred bond between the student and the teacher. While meditating, it is advised to go back after reaching the guru bead. This act signifies that you haven’t stepped over the teacher and submitted it to practice.  

A complete full-length mala contains counter beads and spacer beads. The same divide the Bodhi Seed Mala into four sections of twenty-seven beads each. However, the Bodhi mala comes in different lengths like 54, 27, and 21 beads. There are also the mala bracelets that contain 18 beads. Certain malas are made with elastic cords. These elastic cords are for the wrist while others have adjustable cords to fit. 

Meditating with Prayer Beads

Monk Meditating with Bodhi Seed Prayer Beads
Monk Meditating

For using a meditation mala, there is no requirement of training, prayers, or rituals. All you need is a place to settle down and about ten to fifteen minutes of quiet time. With bodhi seed mala in your hand, breathe deeply so that you feel relaxed. Use the thumb and middle finger to move the mala beads. The Index finger is usually avoided for moving the beads as it represents “I” or the ego.  The Guru bead or the large bead is considered as the starting and endpoint of the mala. Start from the bead next to the Guru Bead and pass to other beads while reciting the mantra. Keep on moving the beads to reach the Guru Bead.

The smooth sequence of the Buddhist Prayer beads helps in transmitting information from the muscles to the brain. The central nervous system gets relaxed. Researchers say the meditation with Bodhi Mala has a similar effect as the squeezing of a stress ball.

The procedure of chanting mantras is very simple. With each bead repeat a mantra of your choice or any prayer or intention. The mantra could be anything such as Om, peace, or love. The voice could be humming or whispering or even clearly pronouncing. The chanting of these mantras will generate positive forward momentum and a strong mental focus. Getting focussed with the first trail isn’t possible. There would be stray thoughts that would distract.

Nevertheless, training yourself to return to the state of meditation will help you calm your body and soul.  Meditation isn’t a race; neither is there any finish line. It is a process of slow healing and bringing peace to mind and heart.

Once you complete one round and reach the Guru Bead, restart. After completing both sides slowly come out of the meditation. Give a few minutes to yourself to regain senses. Practice deep breaths, stand and start normal activities. 

Bodhi Seed Mala has always been in high demand. The meditation mala is said to provide numerous health benefits along with mental healing. By adding meditation through prayer beads to the lifestyle, you will feel calm and will step closer to enlightenment. Like Buddhism in India, Japa mala culture also originated in  India. However, the tradition has traveled oceans, and Buddhist followers all around the world use Bodhi Prayer Beads.  Owing to the wide popularity of Buddhism in Singapore and other south-Asian countries, the demand for Prayer beads here is also very high. When the mala is not in use, one should store it in a clean place. You can keep it in a sacred place or a mala bag or box.

BuddhaHome brings you the exclusive Bodhi Seed Prayer Beads directly from Nepal, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. The BuddhaHome Bodhi Seed Mala comes with 108 beads and a beautifully designed pouch wherein you can store your Prayer Beads. You can buy the BuddhaHome Bodhi Seed Prayer Beads in Singapore, online through Shopee and Qoo10. Meditate to find peace and calm with the Bodhi Seed Prayer Beads.

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