Buddhist beads also known as mala beads or prayer beads, have been used for centuries as an aid in meditation and prayer. In this article, LotusBuddhas will take you through the step-by-step process of making your own set of Buddhist mala beads, from choosing right materials to the final blessing. Let me tell you that members of LotusBuddhas often like to create their own mala beads by hand for themselves.
Meaning of Buddhist beads
Buddhist beads are a string of beads traditionally used in meditation to count mantras or prayers. By using the beads to keep track of number of repetitions, one can focus solely on the mantra’s meaning and achieve a deeper state of mindfulness.
They usually consist of 108 beads, representing the 108 human passions that must be overcome to reach enlightenment. The beads can be made from various materials, each with its own symbolic meaning and spiritual significance. Some people believe that Buddhist beads can provide protection and positive energy. The materials used to make the beads often have specific energetic properties, which can be absorbed and harnessed by the wearer during meditation and in daily life.
Materials used for making Buddhist beads
Before reading the instructions on how to make a mala, LotusBuddhas would like you to have a basic understanding of materials commonly used to make Buddhist prayer beads.
Wood: Wooden beads are commonly used for making Buddhist beads due to their natural and grounding properties. Popular choices include sandalwood, rosewood and bodhi seed.
Seeds: Seeds, such as lotus seeds and rudraksha seeds, have unique spiritual significance in Buddhism and Hinduism. They are believed to have powerful energy and can help the wearer attain a higher state of consciousness.
Gemstones: Gemstones, such as amethyst, lapis lazuli and clear quartz, are believed to possess various healing and spiritual properties. When used in Buddhist beads, they can help the wearer balance their chakras and connect with their inner self.
Metals: Metals, such as silver and gold, can be used as spacers between beads or as a decorative element on the tassel. They are believed to symbolize wealth and abundance, and can help the wearer attract positive energy and prosperity.
Gathering your supplies
Before you begin making your Buddhist beads, gather the following supplies:
- Beads of your choice (108 counting beads, 1 guru bead, and optional spacer beads)
- Beading cord (nylon, silk, or cotton)
- Beading needle
- Tassel (store-bought or handmade)
- Measuring tape or ruler
A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Buddhist Beads
Step 1: Choosing the right beads
Consider the material and size of the beads you want to use for your Buddhist beads. Each material carries its own spiritual significance, so choose the one that resonates with your intentions and goals. The size of beads can vary, but they should be large enough for you to comfortably hold and move through your fingers during meditation.
Note: If you are confused in choosing beads, you can refer to this article: https://lotusbuddhas.com/mala-beads-for-meditation.html
Step 2: Preparing the cord
Measure and cut a length of cord that is at least four times the length of your finished Buddhist beads. Fold the cord in half, and tie a knot at the folded end to create a loop. This loop will be used to attach the guru bead and tassel later.
Step 3: Stringing the beads
Guru Bead: Begin by threading the guru bead onto the cord, positioning it at the knot you created in Step 2. The guru bead serves as a starting and ending point for your meditation and should be larger or different from the other beads.
Spacer Beads: If you choose to use spacer beads, thread them onto the cord next. Spacer beads can be made of metal or a contrasting material and are typically placed after every 27th bead, dividing the Buddhist beads into four equal sections.
Counting Beads: Thread the 108 counting beads onto the cord, using the beading needle if necessary. As you string the beads, recite your chosen mantra or set an intention for your Buddhist beads to infuse them with positive energy.
Step 4: Creating the tassel
If you want to create a handmade tassel, follow these steps:
- Wrap embroidery floss or silk thread around a piece of cardboard or your fingers to create a bundle.
- Slide the bundle off the cardboard or fingers, and tie a knot around the top to secure it.
- Cut the bottom loops of the bundle to create fringe.
- Wrap another piece of thread around the top of the fringe to create the tassel’s “head,” and secure with a knot.
Step 5: Attaching the tassel to the mala
Thread the loose ends of cord through the loop at the top of the tassel. Slide the tassel up to the guru bead, and tie a secure knot to attach it.
Step 6: Knotting the mala
To add extra security and space between the beads, you can tie a knot between each bead. This can also aid in counting mantras during meditation.
Step 7: Blessing your Buddhist beads
Once your Buddhist beads are complete, you may wish to have them blessed by a Buddhist monk or perform a personal blessing ritual. This can help to cleanse and consecrate your beads, imbuing them with spiritual energy and protection.
Caring for your Buddhist beads
To maintain the integrity and energy of your Buddhist beads, treat them with respect and care. Store them in a clean, safe space when not in use, and periodically cleanse them with incense, sunlight or moonlight to recharge their energy.
Just like creating mandalas, making your own set of Buddhist prayer beads is a spiritually enriching experience. After handcrafting Buddhist beads several times, LotusBuddhas found that it helped us improve our concentration, dexterity, and connection to the path of Buddhism we have chosen. We hope that through these step-by-step instructions, you can create a beautiful and meaningful meditation tool that will serve you well on your journey towards mindfulness and enlightenment.