Using NOT wearing malas

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Feathers » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:19 pm

Hi! I had a read of the recent mala thread, and I don't want to reopen that whole discussion, but just wanted to check I had understood it correctly: the debate was about wearing malas, not using them, yes? I mean, if I keep a mala at home that I use to do metta, but don't wear it (currently when I'm not using it it lives on a shelf by my bed) that wouldn't be a problem even in the strictest possible interpretation of the rules?

(incidentally I'm not strict at all, or even Buddhist really yet, but I do like my mala metta practice, and would like to know it was ok to do it before developing it further)

Thanks in advance for any replies :smile:
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Coyote » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:26 pm

My understanding is that it only applies when you undertake the 8 precepts. Other than that it is no problem.
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Feathers » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:37 pm

I'd rather not get into a practice now that would be a problem if/when I come to take the precepts though. I don't mind if the problem is just that it's not considered very effective - I know it's helpful for me at the moment, which seems to me a good enough reason to keep going - but if having one actually contravenes rules that I am inching towards keeping . . .
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:40 pm

Feathers wrote:I'd rather not get into a practice now that would be a problem if/when I come to take the precepts though. I don't mind if the problem is just that it's not considered very effective - I know it's helpful for me at the moment, which seems to me a good enough reason to keep going - but if having one actually contravenes rules that I am inching towards keeping . . .

Even the strictest possible Vinaya interpretation, using a mala for meditation is not considered breaking any precept as it would be considered an aid to meditation, like a cushion or blanket. But no, you couldn't wear it around - and it would perhaps be best to have one that was not particularly ornate.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:53 pm

It's like the difference between listening to music and handling a mucic CD. Handling a CD is not against the precept of not listening to music.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby convivium » Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:48 pm

rudraksha mala is helpful for me to carry around and put under my pillow when i sleep. i don't count mantras very often, if ever, or show it off if i can help it. but wearing it discretely or by myself and just having it on me reminds me of commitments, and has a pretty ostensible power to it in my experience (and, more importantly, in the experience of great yogis).
Last edited by convivium on Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby convivium » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:02 pm

The sentence in my signature is false
http://www.iep.utm.edu/par-liar/#H2 :console:
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Feathers » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:23 pm

Thanks for the clarification everyone :smile:
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:55 pm

Feathers wrote:Hi! I had a read of the recent mala thread, and I don't want to reopen that whole discussion, but just wanted to check I had understood it correctly: the debate was about wearing malas, not using them, yes? I mean, if I keep a mala at home that I use to do metta, but don't wear it (currently when I'm not using it it lives on a shelf by my bed) that wouldn't be a problem even in the strictest possible interpretation of the rules?

(incidentally I'm not strict at all, or even Buddhist really yet, but I do like my mala metta practice, and would like to know it was ok to do it before developing it further)

Thanks in advance for any replies :smile:

What is your mala metta practice? (not read the thread yet so if already there Ill see in a moment.
but yes using them is fine it is the wearing them that is the issue. Although some who have undertaken the 8 precepts do wear them (like a watch, functional). personally I don't even wear a watch so it is open to interpretation, but if you do align yourself with a particular tradition or teacher try to follow their example (leads to fewer misunderstandings.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Feathers » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:12 pm

I read this guide: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/scrn_metta.pdf

I have a 27 bead mala and a 108 bead mala. I generally try to do one full circuit (of whicever I'm using - depends on time) for each of the four phrases. The guide recommends starting with yourself when you're just starting, so that's what I mainly do, but I also do it for others, and for specific situations e.g. at the start of this week I knew it was going to be a stressful week doing long hours on a group project so I did metta for the group ("may we be safe from inner and outer harm"). I think it calmed me down and gave me more patience.
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:41 pm

Anumodana Feathers! Inspiring to hear about your practice!
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:48 pm

Feathers wrote:"may we be safe from inner and outer harm"

is that the recitation you do?
may ...X... be safe from inner and outer harm?

I have never tried practicing metta with mala, but mine are made from bone, and are carved like skulls so I mainly use them for reflections on death and impermanence when I do use them which isn't frequent
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Feathers » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:57 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Anumodana Feathers! Inspiring to hear about your practice!


Hehe that's kind of you, my practice is really very patchy - 'practice' is probably putting it a bit grandly. But I seem to have taken to metta in a way I haven't (so far) to meditation :smile:

Cittasanto, that's the first line. The full thing is:
May . . . x . . . be safe from inner and outer harm
May . . . x . . . be happy and peaceful
May . . . x . . . be healthy and strong
May . . . x . . . be able to take care of [myself/herself/himself/themselves] joyfully

It's pretty flexible though. I mean there are lots of different phrases. I just decided to stick with the ones in the guide I read :smile:

The idea is you do one round for each line. From what I have read (in that guide I linked and in a book about Dipa Ma) you do it for yourself, then for a teacher or someone you look up to, then for a friend or loved one, then for someone you find difficult/an enemy, and then you can move onto the whole world/total strangers.

I have to admit I am not that systematic. I tend to pick people depending on need or instinct. As much as anything, like with the group work this week, it was about me getting myself into a state of mind where I wouldn't do anyone any harm - by getting impatient or frustrated. You're more likely (in my experience) to be patient when you've spent 10 minutes that morning wishing good things for the person you're dealing with.
I am making it sound like I am a lot more experienced and reliable with this practice than I really am, I feel a bit of a fraud handing out info on it to be honest. The best thing I can suggest is read that guide :smile:
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Re: Using NOT wearing malas

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:06 pm

I practice the directions according to the sigalovada sutta, with the inclusion of myself as the centre, but I do not often practice it.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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