What Not To Do With a Mala

The following article is from the Autumn, 2003 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

Wearing a mala without knowing its significance is similar to when a woman adorns herself with a necklace, according to the Tibetan Bon sutra. The sutra specifies that one should hold the mala above the waist when praying, and that one should avoid:

  • stepping on a mala
  • passing one's mala to others while one is engaged in recitation
  • mixing different types of beads together in one mala
  • decorating one's mala to make it look more beautiful
  • using a mala that might have been used by impious person
  • using a mala that is not consecrated
  • hanging one's mala from one's belt
  • placing one's mala under contaminated things
  • throwing one's mala in a playful way
  • carrying one's mala while going to the toilet.

From information compiled by His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, spiritual head of the Tibetan Bon Buddhist tradition.

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