Over the last few years, Mala Beads became so popular in yoga and meditation circles. Originally, mala beads were used for chanting Mantras by Hindus, Buddhists and some Sikhs for the spiritual practice known Japa. As it became more popular in western world, Malas also became fashion accessory to express yogic way of life. Now a days, you can see it being used by yogis, performers, teens, Meditators and list goes on.
These Malas were made using Rudraksha beads or other type of wooden beads like Sandalwood, Rosewood etc. These were used for Japa or recital of Mantras. If you ever travel to Hindu holy places like Haridwar, Varanasi and other Himalayan Ashrams, you can see Sadhus and Yogis wearing thick Rudraksha Malas
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These are very similar to hindu prayer malas which are used for recital of mantras. It Buddhism, malas are also used for counting prostrations, or the repetitions of a buddha's name. These malas look different from hindu prayer beads. Different Buddhist sects have different shaped juzus, and use them differently.
Explanation of Juzu Mala : Mala represents various points of buddhist doctrine. The large guru bead on the end with three tassels represents Shakyamuni Buddha and subjective wisodom. Other guru bead on opposite end with two tassel represents Taho Buddha and objective reality . Small bead beneath taho bead represent the principle of kyochi myogo (The fusion of reality and wisdom). 108 beads on the string symbolize 108 earthly desires. There will be 4 smaller beads within the 108 beads and they represents the 4 great Boddhisattvas of the earth. 4 beads nearest the the tassels represents a vessel in which benefit is symbolically stored and accumilated and the tassel themselves signify the will to attain world peace.
Mala is also associated to Boho chic fashion style which has influence on bohemian and hippie cultures. Malas associated to boho chic fashion are usually have very bright colored tassels and earth colored beads.
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