All About Rosaries
So anyways, some people asked some questions and I am going to talk about that. Alright. Malas. Malas or rosaries. Malas or rosaries are simply, on a conventional level, counters. They help you to count a particular amount of sacred words, which we talked about last year, mantras. The powerful effect of mantras on our psychology, on our body and on our winds and on our movement, and how incredible, powerful certain mantras can be over a period of time. They really are words of power. That I can attest to myself. And in extreme cases, where we really, really concentrate, you can actually you know…I mean I am not joking, you really can stop rain with mantras. Literally, you can just stop rain. Isn’t that a great way to pick up a girl? (blows in the air) Just think about that. Isn’t that a great way to pick up a guy? Some girls. (snaps fingers) Nah it ain’t gonna work. But my point is this, the real point. In fact, that’s how Sharon was impressed. Her partner stopped the rain, but she checked the weather forecast and, “It’s going to be like that that many hours…” She said, “Let’s go out at this time, it’s gonna stop in a minute” and then Sharon is like, “Wow! You’re a fabulous bomoh! Fabulous!” So you see it can be another method to happiness.
Anyways, malas are simply counters. They help you to keep track so you can concentrate. Malas are used to concentrate and used to help you to focus and concentrate on the mantras you are doing and the meditation, because if you have to keep count of a certain mantra, then you lose count and meditating, and lose count and meditating…in the beginning it is quite hard because our mind is very dysfunctional. It’s not able to multitask in the beginning. In the beginning. So it’s like, “Where was I? Oh oh oh meditating” then you start all over again and then you say, “Forget about this meditation thing. I’m going out and having a root beer!”
So, malas are simply counters to help you remember where you are and how many you need to do. They are actually used to help you to concentrate, contrary to what some people think, that the whole focus is having a holy mala and it’s really fabulous and it’s really wonderful and that’s the spiritual practice – no, no, no, no, no. Malas are not spiritual practices in itself; it helps you to become spiritual because it helps you to focus on what you are supposed to be doing: repetitions. And so therefore, the mala is a counter. It contains 108 beads. 100 is the usual number that we count, eight is for the mistakes we have done. Sometimes we mispronounced, unintentionally. Sometimes we skipped, sometimes we missed, so the eight is to make up for that. They have other complicated explanations but I’m gonna leave it there because for our write-up we don’t need to be so complicated.
108…and the quality of the mala is according to your means. But I would recommend you to get malas that last, that are durable, that don’t break easy, and that are easy to use. You get a lapis lazuli mala because you can afford it, it’s heavy! Someone offered me one, I was like, “Ooh! Lapis lazuli! Give that to me!” because it’s got gold on it and I’m like, “Oooh gold, oooh I love it! That’s gonna help my meditation!” Boy it’s heavy! After a while, you’re like, “OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG”, I have biceps on this side from using that mala but no biceps on this side. It’s not practical at all. And you know some Chinese Mahayana people – it’s not wrong because Tibetans do that too – have huge malas, it’s that thick, and they wrap it around and it goes down to the knee, and when they’re walking, “Namo Amituofo.” Oh my god! And then they carry these malas, it’s so huge, it’s bigger than my thumb, it’s like, “OM MANI PADME HUNG! OM MANI PADME HUNG! OM MANI PADME HUNG!” And then you got to hold the mala and go (shakes hand in pain), then like, “OM MANI PADME HUNG! OM MANI PADME HUNG! OM MANI PADME HUNG!” By the time, you finish you got Arnold Schwarzenegger fingers! It’s so heavy, and then the biceps of course. Which is not bad but it’s only on one side so you show this arm but not that. But I don’t see the purpose of those huge malas. It’s not bad, I mean if you like it all the power to you, huge mala people great. For me I don’t like it too big, I don’t like it too heavy. I don’t like a lot of things hanging off it because Tibetans put counters on them. Which a lot of people like, but I don’t like because I find that it gets tangled.
I like it simple and easy, but good material. I’ll tell you why now. Certain practices, certain types of mantras, if you do it combined with certain materials, it helps to facilitate the results of that mantra. For example, if you put very calming, beautiful music and you go for crystal therapy and then they put the aromatherapy stuff, it does help. Crystals do help certain parts of your body. Ancient medicine or traditional medicine is all made up of components that are all natural, elements, mercury, gold, and silver. Tibetan medicine is. So it’s all elements. So crystals do help, they help, but it is in conjunction with things. So malas do help in conjunction with certain mantras. So if you recite OM MANI PADME HUNG and Chenrezig, or Kuan Yin…you know, in Tibetan we call him Chenrezig. In Tibetan, he’s a he and in Chinese, he is a she but it doesn’t really matter, he, she, you know. I think your form is in drag, but never mind. He’s still a bodhisattva inside right? Drag or whatever, who cares? Buddha is Buddha lah. So anyways, Chenrezig, when you recite the mantra, it’s very good to have crystal malas. It’s not a necessity, it’s not a must, it’s not that you have to and if you don’t, oh god you know, Kuan Yin is not going to bless you. How ridiculous.
But crystal malas are very good for Kuan Yin. And Bodhi seed malas are very good. Bodhi seed. Because Bodhi seed is originally linked to the Bodhi tree. The Bodhi tree is what Lord Buddha sat under to meditate, to become a Buddha. So Bodhi tree reminds us – it’s not necessary because it’s not the tree that Buddha sat under you know – it’s a tree that grew 50,000 miles away so it’s a Bodhi tree, big deal, but that’s not the one that Buddha sat under. But if you use a Bodhi tree mala, it kind of reminds you of your purpose to become a Buddha, and implants imprints, with that awareness, that I will be a Buddha. That I want to be a Buddha. So Bodhi seed is very good because it’s light, it’s solid, it’s nice and it’s a reminder of where Lord Buddha attained his final release. Bodhi seeds are wonderful. And pearls are very nice, they’re precious, and I’ll explain why in a few minutes. Wood, any type of wood is alright; sandalwood is beautiful, fabulous. And these days we have synthetic materials which is okay too. They don’t break, they last a long time, they’re synthetic. Even glass and all that. They didn’t have all that in Tibet. It’s not not allowed, you know you can even have pure coral, it’s up to you, it’s really up to you. Because a mala is used as a counter but in higher practices – because you’re not gonna remain at your level, you’re gonna go to higher practices – where you recite certain mantras, as you recite more and more it energizes your mala. It really does. So what happens is when you recite a lot of mantras, it energizes your mala, and the mala becomes a very powerful object, a talisman, a protection. Why do you think a lot of Chinese people hang malas inside their car? Because it comes from that reasoning, that someone blessed and holy has done prayers on it, and the energy is there.
So malas can contain very powerful energies. And when you recite mantras and after you’re finished, you blow on your mala. It becomes a protection. Why? The energy of that certain deity that you have been contacting, Kuan Yin for example, Manjushri, OM AH RA PA TSA NA DHI, OM MANI PADME HUNG, it goes right in and it stays, and it energizes it, and it’s yours. Very nice. And then in higher practices, in the sutra practices, in the lower practices, in the medium practices, whatever – then malas become an object of offering. Example, for convenience sake, it can be used as a mandala offering. So what you visualize on your mala is a string of jewels, and diamonds and pearls and rubies and sapphires and amethysts, all the beautiful things you visualize and you offer. So if you actually have a few precious items on it, it’s a wonderful offering every single day to offer to the Buddhas when you’re doing your practices.
So therefore if you have some pearl malas, it’s very, very nice because it’s nice to use, it’s unique, it’s different but it’s an offering. You think, “Well if I offered it yesterday today, I can’t offer it again.” No. Yesterday was yesterday’s reality. Today it’s yours again. It’s a different reality today. So you can have beautiful pearl malas to offer up to Lord Buddha, up to Tsongkhapa when you do your meditations. And then on the highest form of practice – this is not a necessity, this is just my own little thinking – when you have malas that are of precious material, you offer it to yourself as a deity. If you visualize yourself…in the higher practices you change your reality to the Yidam, the meditational deity. Yidam is the one that holds your mind so that refers to your personal affinity deity that you meditate on to achieve enlightenment. Because you know there is 108 deities, you can’t meditate and recite their sutra and mantras every single day, you can’t. It’s just too much. It’s physically impossible no matter how enlightened you are. And it’s not necessary. If you have one, it contains the energy of all.
So your lama or your teacher or your Guru, when you’re ready, you request, he will assign you an affinity deity. That one that fits your particular need, your particular mind, and your particular energy and your particular way to enlightenment. And therefore, when you have this Yidam, and then you receive the initiations, and then you have the visualizations of yourself as that deity, when you have these precious items, it’s an offering. I offer it to Chenrezig. I offer to Manjushri. And therefore, you can have precious items that are nice without attachment, without the result of attachment. And in that same meditation, you can have many precious things around you. Maybe you are someone in society. Maybe you are, and you have to keep up looks for business, for the sake of your family, whatever because the world operates on that convention. You may not. So in your mind you don’t operate on that convention but outwardly you do, but with good motivation…you know, “I’m gonna have a big fat car, I’m going to have a big fancy house, I ‘m going to have fancy jewelry, because I have to because I am in this station in life so I have to help maintain my family”, out of compassion you have those things. So in that way, when you have those things, it doesn’t create negative karma or attachment. Why? The intention is to benefit.
So malas can be used, they’re basically counters. And traditionally, you have a center, and then on this side is 21, and on this side it’s 21. Because in many practices, the mantra you recite up to 21. And then after 21 you have something bigger here if you prefer. Why? Because everything is designed not to interrupt your meditation. So when you go to 21 like that, you can feel it and then you stop. So everything is to facilitate your meditation. And so, if you are very lucky, if your lama or your Guru has some relationship with you and stuff, he’s offered you a mala, you should think it’s fabulous. Because most likely your lama, your Guru or whatever has put his energy in it, prayers, his Yidam so that when you touch that mala and do the practice, it helps to open up seeds in your mind, faster. Because someone who is spiritually advanced has the propensity to open us up faster and easier. Much faster. Or if we have a mala and it’s blessed by a person that we respect, and a person that is attained, or at least is a good person, and has good energy and prays, and then it empowers our mala. If it’s not then it’s ok also. Because everyday we bless it ourselves. We can bless, we don’t have to be a Rinpoche to bless, we all can bless. The Buddhas can work through all of us.
So, it can be of any material, certain practices require certain different types of mala, certain practices. And then certain practices require you to use your left hand or your right hand. And which finger. But generally for us, we just use any hand we like, any finger but for auspicious reasons, when we do the higher tantric practices which are very profound, if you do the mother tantras, then you use the left hand. If you do the mother tantras, you use the left hand. For peaceful activities, to require peaceful abilities, peaceful forms of powers and clairvoyance, you use your index finger. If you want to increase wealth, increase knowledge, increase harmony, you want to increase prosperity in that area, with those deities you will use the second finger. So you recite it like that with the particular mantra and meditation, it will increase. Because you have wind channels here. These wind channels activate certain things in your mind that help you go to that direction, that open up things in that direction. And then, in the mother tantras, if you want to do controlling activities, controlling weather, controlling spirits, exorcisms, stopping negativities, then you use the third finger. The third finger is the control aspect. It will gain you the power to control certain situations, to be of benefit of others. And then last but not least, is when all three methods fail, you have to use wrath or ferocity, wrathful methods. Some people you need to be wrathful. Their minds don’t move unless you’re wrathful.
So to gain that wrathful ability…wrathful is anger without anger. Isn’t that beautiful? Anger without anger. You get angry not because you’re angry; you get angry because it’s a method. So for wrathful meditations, and wrathful… you know, if you are in a very violent area like a cemetery, or near a cemetery, or a place where people have been killed and died, it’s very wrathful. And every time you meditate you see things, you feel things, you’re uncomfortable, or you feel jittery; it’s not necessary a sprit but you yourself feel…because the area is very energized with wrathful bad energy, then you use the last finger. This is wrath, this is controlling the situation around you and you do particular mantras.
If you do the father tantras, then you use the right hand. Left is permissible but you use more on the right. Left represents wisdom, which is mother tantras. Right represents father tantras, which is based on method. Both is necessary for enlightenment, both are two wings of a bird. It’s just which method you go towards. So if we’re doing for example, Vajrayogini practices, Heruka practices, Kalachakra practices, then we will concentrate on the left hand using the first index finger. And we will train ourselves to use that, and then we pull the mala towards us. This is how we use it: we keep it at heart level, concentrate, and we pull it towards us. And when you finish it, when you get to the end, maybe you have to do 1000, 500, 1, I don’t know – when you get to the end, you just continue, you just go over. This is nothing sacred or holy, it’s a marker. Some people turn it around, it’s not necessary. You just continue.
So those who are doing Yamantaka practices, Guhyasamaja practices, they will use the right hand. Those of us who are not initiated into the higher tantras at this time, you can use any hand that you like. But if you like to be initiated into one of the higher tantras and you know which one you like, or which one you have been told you are going to get, then you will start, for example Vajrayogini and Heruka is left hand; Yamantaka, Guhyasamaja, right hand. Kalachakra, left hand. Mother tantra. And that’s not a big deal but you see it’s another way to help you to gain attainments faster. If you use the wrong hands, “Uh oh, no effect.” No lah. Got effect. There are plenty of villagers out there who, you know, they don’t even have fingers, they just recite the mantras. They don’t have hands, accidents, whatever, they still gain attainments. So these are just to help you. Don’t get caught up on this. And if you make it very beautiful, if you make it very attractive, it is nice too, because some people are at that level where they like nice things, so if you give them nice things they will do nice mantras. If you give them ugly things, they won’t do the mantra. I mean, there are all types of people.
So if you know some guy who is filthy, wealthy rich and he has everything around him in gold, including his toilet bowl, everything is gold, you give him a crappy little wooden mala that smells, that’s misshapen, “Here! Be a Buddhist, pray!” and he’s like “Ugh, thank you very much!” Yeah, but if you give this guy a pearl, “Ooh! I wanna recite mantras every day!” You know, at that level. As they do more and more, their minds change and after a while it doesn’t matter to them. But it attracts them at their level.
(JP asks a question)
Oh you lost the accent. Go ahead.
(answer) The significance is precious stones are acquired by you having wealth. The wealth is a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. And with blood, sweat and tears, if you have money, you can spend them on many things, but if you spend them on something to offer to a Buddha who is enlightened being, you create the causes for you to gain great wealth again.
(JP asks a question)
(answer) No, because if your motivation is to get rich as an end to itself, it’s feeding desire. Because you are already feeding desire as you are now doing that, every day. Every single day whatever you do is to get wealth. You are feeding desire every single day. But it’s better to feed your desire through an enlightened being which eventually will extinguish that. Because if you’re a really ugly nasty person, if you hang around a nice person, eventually you start to transform and change.
So like that if you’re gonna feed your desire by offering pearls and precious items on a Buddha image, what happens is this, is that every single day that Buddha image contains the item, you collect the merits every single day. And when you collect that merit, it transforms your mind. It helps you to switch your mind over to something good even initially if it is negative. And at the same time when you offer something precious, choose an enlightened being. That enlightened being has no desire for it, he has no need, and on top of that he has all that he wants. But when you offer it up to an enlightened being whose mind is free from attachments, then you create the causes for you to reach that state, because you are making an affinity with that being. And the affinity you’re making is not a cheap little glass of yogurt, it’s something really that your greedy mind would have normally have not done, but you pull yourself away from your greed to offer it to something that you feel you don’t get immediate benefit. So on many levels, it has a lot of effect. Okay? And hence in Buddhist places, they encourage that. Like in Thailand, gold on the Buddhas. Oh yes. It is meant as a counter to attachment, a counter. Okay?
So when you have beautiful malas, when you have beautiful malas, nice malas, for some people it is encouraging. For some people they use it as a practice in their daily practice. It’s an offering. But it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t really, really matter what kind of mala you have. It’s basically a counter, and it’s pleasant, it’s nice, you pick the size that you like. You pick the size that you find pleasant, and you can change it. And it’s a wonderful gift to people because it’s very meaningful. It’s very beautiful. It symbolizes practice. Kuan Yin in the Tibetan tradition, four arms, in this arm holds a mala. In this arm holds a lotus, and these two arms here holds a wish-fulfilling jewel. So this arm here holding a lotus, it’s a reminder to us that by practice, Kuan Yin became enlightened. By listening to her master, Shakyamuni Buddha, she became enlightened. And she became enlightened not by listening but by applying what she heard into practice, into assimilation with her mind. So this mala that she is holding represents assimilation. So when you have a mala and you keep a mala and it’s kept well, it is also awareness of your spiritual practice, that you need to practice. When you see a mala, what do you think? You’re not gonna wrap it around yourself and go on a podium…I mean you can but that’s not what you usually associate it with. And higher beings who are very practiced in mantra, who are very practiced in meditation, their malas are very powerful. Because their energy, their motivation, and everything you want to achieve, is contained in their prayers and then it’s blessed. And some higher beings can manifest as different meditational deities. So during their meditations, they manifest as different meditational deities, it is not them holding, it is the meditational deity holding the mala and blessing it. So if those kind of beings, if they give you one of their malas it’s very blessed. Why is it blessed? It is blessed because it contains the energy of that deity which, when you touch and you use daily, it will open up that energy in you. And, if they cut their mala and they offer it, and you can get one, and you can wear it, very protective. Very, very protective.
So on a different level, malas can be used as a protection. And in some cases of high lamas, their malas are so energized, they know it, they actually use the mala to bless people. For example, in the Vajrayogini tantras and in the Heruka tantras, the mantra is very, very potent for dispelling negative spirits. Very potent for exorcising or chasing away negativities. Vajrayogini. So in Vajrayogini’s tantra, it is encouraged to have a nice mala, it’s encouraged to have a strong one and to keep one, and to blow the mantra after you are done, and then with that you can bless many people. People who are touched by this mala in the Vajrayogini tantra, actually receive an imprint of her holy blessings. What’s her holy blessings? That in future they can practice. So with Vajrayogini’s tantra, for people to even see the mala of the practitioner, and to be placed on top of the head and to be blessed, very powerful. Very, very powerful.
So the mala is a counter. It’s an ornament for the Buddhas. It’s an offering to the Buddhas. It is a reminder of spiritual practice. It is a counter to help us focus our awareness and meditation because we are at a rough, gross level. And, it can help us to attain different types of powers by activating the winds and energies in the different parts of our fingers, in the different parts of our body.
(someone asks a question)
(answer) All. All. No problem. No problem. You know, some lamas, they have to practice 100-200 deities, they can’t have 200 malas, that’s gonna be pretty heavy. Imagine going through immigration, they’re gonna say you’re a businessman selling malas. Taxed! One mala for all. Even better.
(JP asks a question)
(answer) No difference. Your preference and your hand size. If you’re 6’2”…oh! That one. Probably 21. Those are for short pratices, just to wear, anywhere you can use it. I mean sometimes it’s not practical to have a big, long one. So when you wear a little short one like what you have, you can take it off and you use it any time. Ya. And then let’s be a little bitchy. If you’re 6’2” and gorgeous and fabulous, then you have a long, big mala. If you’re not, you have a short one. Well, if you’re not and you have a long one, it’s gonna be like…you’re gonna have to be like (holds mala high in the air), “OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG”. Well? And if you’re 6’2” and gorgeous, and fabulous and beautiful and Tibetan, then you have a long one, it’s very elegant. Because if it’s a little short, you’ll be like (imitates holding a small mala)…get it? Good? Any more intelligent questions that might embarrass you? He loves it.
(Paris asks a question)
(answer) Because as I mentioned earlier, a lot of practices require you just to recite 21. And that’s the duration of the meditation that is necessary for that particular practice. Just 21. It can be 21, it can be 28, it depends on different practices. And sometimes it can depend on your wrist, because if you are 6’2” and gorgeous and fabulous, and have thick, wonderful wrists, 21 is going to be a little too tight so maybe you put 23.
I mean don’t get caught up in the numbers. That’s what is specified, but that doesn’t have to be. You have to be practical. So if you’re not 6’2” and gorgeous, maybe 21 is gonna be a little loose, you keep losing it you know. And if you go to the Indian toilet and you wipe yourself the Indian way, which is what we do in India, then your mala goes down the Indian toilet, because it’s a little too loose. So you do what is practical.
(JP asks a question)
(answer) Oh, you can get it from right here. That’s what we are doing right now. This whole thing is for write-ups. See, these are our writers. I’ve got four writers here. This is a writer. Yeah. Oh no no, you can get it anywhere else. In fact you should check several sources so you can get this information, you can check the Net. You can check the Net. You just put, you know, “the significance rosaries, Buddhist rosaries, how they’re used”, just check the Net. No problem.
(someone asks a question)
(answer) It’s not necessary. The purpose of bone malas is this: that has an energy to help us remember our mortality. That has an energy to help us visualize and feel death. And feeling death and mortality is not a depressing state. It is a happy state because it compels us to do things that bring happiness. If we know we are going to die tomorrow, there’s a lot of things we wouldn’t do today that will be harmful to others. And some of the tantric deities they use wrathful means. They use wrathful means in order to subdue others. So malas that are bone represent death and when you use these malas, it reminds you of the energy that you are tapping into to subdue others in violent places, but it’s not necessary. It’s not necessary and I don’t recommend it.
(someone asks a question)
(answer) Katvanga. Number one, Lama Tsongkhapa’s head doesn’t tilt to the side in the normal form. He has five main emanations. One, this is Lama Tsongkhapa. Two, three, four and the last one there in the form of a mahasiddha, that’s all Lama Tsongkhapa. He has five main forms. Alright? Five main, not restricted. Each of the forms are different and they manifest differently for different purposes and needs. A deity who has the head tilted in lower tantras, the deity whose head is tilted in the lower tantras, denotes compassion, maternal love, care and extreme compassion. So what you’re doing is, it’s reminding you of the goal, and to remind you that when we reach the goal we still have to be very compassionate and kind. So a deity that is slightly tilted like that, like Tara, slightly tilted, it represents the state they have achieved, which is great compassion, which Is equivalent to maternal love, much much more. That’s one.
On Guru Rinpoche, in Guru Rinpoche’s holy case, when his head is tilted, it represents tantric achievements where he uses his tantric elements and tantric achievements to subdue. Because Guru Rinpoche was very well-known in Tibet when he first came to subdue many, many unnatural, supernatural, unhappy and very negative forces. So when he was doing that, he wasn’t just sitting like that, he had to move this way and that way; he had different rituals and different ways to do it, and different mudras and different actions and different body movements. So him doing that represents activity from compassion. In Lama Tsongkhapa’s case he is usually pictured as straight, straight meaning mental stabilization. Straight meaning by great meditation because when we meditate we won’t do like that. Sitting straight and meditating represents he’s achieved full enlightenment through practice. But it’s different for the five emanations, for example this one. This one here, he appeared on an elephant…this one and that is is the same but when he appeared on an elephant to one of his disciples, Khedrup Rinpoche, why? He was showing great compassion, great love for a student. Because Lama Tsongkhapa is a Buddha. He appears in visions to people, he’s very sensitive. There are many Lama Tsongkhapa statues in Tibet that manifest pills, or speak, or…either very heavy to move or very light, it has unusual ways of manifesting its power.
Lama Tsongkhapa is a very easy deity to practice, very easy to tap into, very easy to hold on to, very easy to achieve, because of his nature and who he is and the combination of deities. And his mantra and the meditations are not difficult but they are very, very effective. So Lama Tsongkhapa in this form…we call these forms the Je Zikpa Nga, the five visions of Je Rinpoche, Je Tsongkhapa. In this form, when he appeared on an elephant, the elephant represents overcoming ignorance, stubbornness, narrow mindedness, and Lama Tsongkhapa’s overcome that. On a pristine white elephant. Because the elephant is not an actual animal, it is an emanation of his mind to show you his quality. And riding on a white, pristine clear elephant represents his luminous nature that he has achieved Buddhahood. And him being tilted shows you great love and compassion. “I care for you. I am appearing to you out of love. You invoked me. I appear to you out of great love, great compassion.” And in this form, his feet are down instead of the usual meditational pose telling you that although he is fully achieved, he is not stiff and hard. He is able to come to you immediately to help. So this form is very, very significant, with the head tilted. In the case of tantric deities, the head being tilted represents the type of tantras they are geared towards. Vajrayogini’s is tilted towards the left. Heruka’s tilted to the left. Kalachakra, to the left. Yamantaka, to the right. Left denotes mother tantra, focusing on clear light. Right is more on father tantra, illusory body. So in tantric deities when they tilt left and right, it symbolizes the method that they use, that you will utilize to achieve enlightenment. Both is equal, its just dependent on what you need.
So tilting of the head in iconography is very powerful symbology. Very, very powerful. And if you know what it represents, when you look at the deity you immediately know the path, you know what they are doing, what’s happening, what you’re gonna engage in, you understand very clearly. So iconography is not simply beautiful art; it is very powerful symbology towards an awakened state of mind, which reminds you and when you see it, when you see an enlightened being, a statue or a thangka or whatever, it plants imprints in your mind. It is a direct channel to them. Okay?
Now where was I. Malas. So they are counters, they can be made of precious items so that you can make offerings, and they can be of any size. They can be of any materials, and they can be used for whatever you like, and they can be switched any time. So if you want to switch malas, don’t go, “Oh god, how do I transfer the energy?” No, don’t worry about it because the energy is not really the mala, it’s you. If you’re attained, whatever you touch becomes enlightened. You can touch one toilet paper and put it on people and bless them with it, if you are really that state. Why? Because this is just all a substance, it’s earth, air, water and fire. And the blessings is carried over to someone, because they are not able to achieve direct blessing with you. So what happens is, it’s blessed. Example, we have clothes and we have relics from Lama Tsongkhapa or Buddha. Those are very blessed because it was them. You know their energies pervaded their whole body and what they wore. So it can be transferred on a tissue, it can be transferred on a toilet paper, it can be transferred on a mala. So don’t think, “Oh if I switch malas how? I need to go see a Tibetan Lama, fly to Tibet and see His Holiness blublublablabla” and then you can’t acclimatize so for three days there, you’re throwing up and you’re dizzy, just to transfer the energy of this mala to this mala and then you find out from Tsem Rnpoche that you don’t have to. And you don’t have to fly to Shangri-la, Tibet, you can just fly to PJ. Isn’t that fabulous? Just in PJ. Wonderful.
In the past people who went for teachings, they walked…Trijang Rinpoche, when he went for the Lamrim teachings, he walked for three months from his part of Tibet, on horseback and walked, the highest lama of Tibet, to central Tibet to receive teachings from his Guru. These days, when we have to drive from another part of town and there is traffic, oh god I tell you. If there was a picture of our Guru we’d be punching him. Very easy these days.
So malas on a higher level can be protection. Why? It is imbued with that practice, it is imbued with the power of that mantra. Remember what I mentioned last week without going all into it again? Mantras contain the essence of that Buddha, in the form of words. So when you chant that mantra, you are tapping into the energy of that Buddha, you are tapping into its potential. And you’re tapping into yourself connecting with that energy and becoming one with it. So words of power as I explained last week…who missed it, you can get the CD, it’s available. Pastor Loh Seng Piow has it produced. It’s very, very powerful. It should be kept clean, it should be kept well. It should be kept in a good place. Why? Because it can become dirty? No. Respecting and keeping it in a nice place is symbolic of your spiritual practice and how you treat it. And it’s great gifts. Malas. Alright? Any questions?
(someone asks a question)
(answer) Well, if the Dalai Lama says, “I want to hold your mala”, I’d give it to him. “Pleaseeee!! In fact rub it all over you!” You know, if it’s a hantu, no, no thank you because if you’re weak in energy and they touch it, if a holy being can put good energy on it, an evil being can put negative energy on it, and it can affect you if you’re weak. If you are highly practiced, you can give it to all the hantus (Malay: ghosts) and they can touch it and bring it back and when you touch it, you bless them. But if you’re like me, a clown, then hantus…evil people, when you touch it, you go, “Ughh no. “ You know, you turn into the wolf man. Because touch can affect. You know because sometimes we touch it, we feel, “Ooooh nice”; sometimes when we think (sniff), “Ooooh got smell too!” Touch does affect you. So if you’re on this kind of level like me, then I mean your friends, your parents, all that can touch it, and they can use it. It’s not a big deal. And then if worse comes to worst scenario, if somebody evil touches it, you think it’s evil you know, because you are obscured, then you take it back. You recite the mantra of your deity 21 times and you blow on it. “OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG, OM MANI PADME HUNG,” it’s okay already. You can be your own Guru. Yah. And if you don’t believe in you, you can bring an ang pau (traditional Chinese gift of money in a red packet) and come see me lah. But not the teeny little thin ang paus from OCBC. I’m talking about the big ones with dragons and it can fit a lot of things in there so when I get it I can feel how much. Don’t you hate it when you get one of those big ang paus, you open up it’s 5 dollars. Thank you very much! And some of these small ones, I’m not even gonna look at it and then a week later, you go, “Ohhhh! It’s 200 ringgit! I should have opened it last week because I needed money for petrol!” No, I’m just kidding.
(JP asks a question)
(answer) You attract spirits by reciting mantras? No, no, no. I’m not questioning you. I want to understand your question. When you recite mantras you attract spirits? And what do you think about that? Is that good or bad? Good or bad? Okay, so your question? But if they’re just there and it’s not good or bad, who cares? Why is it annoying? Then it’s bad. So it’s good or bad? Okay. If it’s bad, then you recite your mantras really loud, and you tell them to buzz off. And if you’re attained, they will buzz off; if you’re not, they’re gonna bug you more. So what you do is when you recite mantras, you generate loving compassion, and you realize they become spirits due to the force of their miserliness, stinginess, and their attachment to wealth and money and prestige, and because of that great attachment that they’ve habituated their whole life, when they die these people become spirits. Very attached. So therefore, these type of people become spirits and they’re still attached to that. So when you fight them back or when you hurt them back, they become even more vicious, if you’re not realized.
In the case of spirits for ordinary clowns like all of us, we do is, when they come to us, we immediately think about our Yidams. If our Yidam is Lama Tsongkhapa, we focus and meditate on Lama Tsongkhapa, and relax, and develop compassion towards them. Because usually, in people who are very angry, if you say, “I’m sorry”, they calm down. So in the case with spirits, the best practice for ordinary beings like us is not to generate anger or to repel them. What you do is immediately, you generate compassion. Compassion based on what? They are a spirit, and you are not. They harm, you don’t. They can’t eat or drink or have company or have love. You can. And their result resembles the cause. So if they are spirits always wanting things and they can’t get it, it must be their previous lives is extremely miserly, and they were very selfish and they were attached to their possessions. And so therefore they become spirits. They linger around places that they are attached to. It could be people, it could be a person, it could be a thing, it could be possessions. It could be revenge.
So with these kinds of beings, what you do, the best thing you do is this: you immediately develop compassion instead of being afraid of them. Instead of being afraid, because maybe they’re not there to harm. Maybe they are there before you. Maybe because that is where they have died. Maybe they were there for 300 years and you’re the invader, not them. So what you do is, the best method immediately, is to take refuge. Take refuge means surrender to an enlightened being and relax, come under their protection. And then, with great compassion you think about their level, and you generate compassion towards them. And you know what’s happening? Contrary to what we’re used to – “see hantu, see bomoh, see Tibetan lama, Mi-Tsung lama” – contrary to your normal belief, bless them. They are suffering. They are suffering. No spirit is having a good time. No spirit. Nobody in a war is having a good time. Nobody in a war. No spirit is having a good time. A spirit is a negative reincarnation. They have different levels and different types of sufferings and different lifespans just like us, but nevertheless, they are still suffering.
So when you see a spirit, instead of going back to your habitual thinking, “Uh oh, spirit, I’m gonna get it, I’m gonna run”, whatever, “they’re following me”, what you should do is to generate compassion and love for them, and bless them. Bless them with what? “OM MANI PADME HUNG! OM MANI PADME HUNG! GO AWAY! OM MANI PADME HUNG! I BLESS YOU!” No, no, no, this isn’t…you don’t do that. You’re not in a movie with Linda Blair. This is not The Exorcist. And your Father O’…O’…whatever the Irish name is, I can’t remember…and you know you’re holding your Lamrim book and you say, “By the power vested in me by the Three Jewels, OM MANI PADME HUNG! OM MANI PADME HUNG!” No, no, no. You don’t do that. Why don’t you do that? Because you’re gonna frustrate them, they’re going to get angry. Blessing comes not just by the mantras. Blessings come from your state of mind which they can perceive as they have clairvoyance. Blessing comes from your state of mind and your attitude towards them. And they will feel it. So even if you don’t have mantras, if you just generate loving compassion, metta, most cases they go away. Or most cases they don’t disturb you anymore. In most cases…turn it around. Bless them. Why do you only bless humans that you can see? Why don’t you bless non-humans who are suffering also? Even animals. Mantras are very powerful for animals. When I go running in Bandar Utama, around here you know, when I go jogging and stuff, I always see dogs. I always recite mantras at them, even when they’re barking ferociously at me. I just bark back louder, “OM MANI PADME HUNG.”
Why? Planting mantras in their minds blesses them, it helps them. Very, very much. Any type of mantras. So therefore, when we recite mantras and you attract spirits, I don’t know what mantra you’re reciting…“Om all the hantus come to me hum phet”, it must be that mantra! But what happens is when you recite the mantras, you bless them. And there are higher forms of tantra, higher forms of tantra where – he is correct – that when you do certain practices, it is specifically to attract spirits but it is assumed that you have achieved a level were you can benefit them. Directly benefit them. Subdue them, transform them and help them to not stay in their state long. There are beings like that, definitely. There is a certain tantra called Chöd. Chöd practice is very powerful and when you do that, the minute you do that, spirits will come. You’ll hear things move. If you’re accomplished, you’ll hear things move, you’ll hear, you know, strange sounds, the energy changes, because there are a lot of sprits around. And seasoned practitioners like His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, my Guru, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, when he did Chöd, you will hear noises at the back all the time. It was really weird. And the spirits will come and he will make offerings to them. Why? To make them happy, to give them something that no one gives them.
Because usually when spirits see us, we run, they don’t like us, or they can’t see us; they don’t get love, they don’t get affection, they don’t get anything. All they get is fear, hatred, and people using bomohs and magic to dispel them. It makes them more angry. Think from their perspective. They were you. You can be them. They have a lifespan just like you. So you have to understand the nature of the spirits. But there are certain spirits that are inherently very violent and very evil. They have been like that for hundreds of years. There are a lot of things. In those cases, you have to use more fierce means to subdue them. Why? Out of compassion, of not letting them do more negative karma to harm others, collect more negative karma, to stay in their state longer, or to take rebirth again as a spirit. So there are forceful mantras. Powerful mantras used to what? To chase them, to harm them? No, to subdue their mind in a more powerful way because they are very fierce.
The whole purpose of Buddhistic practice is to help another being. The whole practice. There is no practice that chases or scares or damages another being, human or non-human. The whole basis of Buddhistic practice is to benefit, even spirits. And if we can reach that level even spirits, we overcome our…we can be afraid, but we can still be compassionate. We can still be kind, because we can develop that kind of mind. So therefore, when the spirits come, when the spirits are there, instead of being afraid, take that as an opportunity to generate compassion. Maybe you’ll be the difference in their lives, that they stop doing harm to others. So in that way it’s very beneficial.
Change your perspective, change your motiv…look, we’ve been here for two hours, listen to all the knowledge you’ve got. Even how you view certain things that culturally you’ve been afraid of, spirits, you can change your thoughts by wisdom. By Buddha’s wisdom. This is what I mean about Dharma. You learn a lot. So instead of consistently being in fear out of ignorance, like a rope coiled in the corner of the room and it’s dark and you think there’s a snake, and everything you fear about is a snake, and you walk around the room, you run to the other side, maybe you call the fire department or you call everybody; the way you react to it, it’s a real snake because that is what you perceive. When you turn on the lights, you feel ridiculous. And if your friends are there, they are probably laughing at you.
Similarly, we have a perception about spirits and it’s only one-sided: they’re harmful, they’re bad, they’re evil and I want them out of my life. No. We shouldn’t think like that. Harmful things that come into our life are not necessarily harmful. They can transform us. They can be a cause for us to generate a stronger and better mind. And we can do that with spirits. I mean, you don’t run around…at our level, you don’t run around and say, “Come! I’m going to transform and bless you.” You’re going to have a ménage a trois of spirits, you know. The whole circus shows up and that’s it. Some of them are pretty scary. And if you’re not at the level to help them, don’t invite it. If they’re around and you have no choice, then bless them. Trust me, I don’t run around calling spirits. Yes.
(someone asks a question)
(answer) Exactly. That is why I said look at the situation. Generate loving compassion. Generate loving compassion and if they continue, then you stop them. You stop them either by your meditations, by your mantras, soliciting your Dharma protector. Or, if you are not capable, you ask your lama to exorcise. But you have to check the situation. It’s the same. Good or bad, you generate loving compassion. Good or bad. Why? A being who has reached that level cannot be harmed. Cannot be. So if someone sends a bomoh to you, there are many ways to protect yourself. That’s what I am going to go through, there’s several things like chakras and stuff that we can talk about if we have time today. I am going to talk about it. And you’re gonna learn a lot. You’re gonna learn quite a lot.
And so, what happens is, chakras, roos, protections, what they’re for, what deity, how you activate their energy, where you should wear them, where you should keep them – because you don’t have to wear them on your neck – and how to use them. I’m going to talk about chakras because I imported a lot from India and Nepal to disseminate here to help people. Because you know what? When I first arrived in Malaysia, I wasn’t really into the spirit scene. But I have seen too much in this country that it is real. Why? The arts of spirit practice and bomoh and all that stuff and magic and harm, is still alive because people still practice it. It was in the west, but they stopped doing it, so it kind off died off, their tradition but that doesn’t mean the spirits died off. Here, there is a real, real danger of bomohs. There is a real danger of magic harm. There is real…I mean there are some people who are just trying to get attention, and there are some people who are hallucinating, but you have to differentiate because there are signs to observe whether they are hallucinating, and if it’s real or not. And there are very genuine cases here and they’re not trying to get attention and they are not crazy. There are.
So there are certain mantras we can do, certain deities we can propitiate. Protective circles we can visualize, when we are alone. And chakras and mandalas, and different forms of protection we can wear. And I am going to talk about them tonight. Because we have that in our outlets. And the ones we have in our outlets are not commercial. They are made and blessed by my root Gurus, whose intention is to benefit others. Because my root Gurus, they have many sponsors, they don’t need to make money from that. But the money from the sales is to cover the expenses. The paper, the mantras, the blessings, the ceremonies and all that. It is not for profit at all. My Gurus don’t do that, I know them very well. In any case, so we have those things, and I am going to talk about it. It’s going to be very exciting because UFOs, Loch Ness monsters, spirits, chakras, magic, mantras, it’s all exciting, isn’t it? We all love that. We’re don’t want to hear about philosophy that changes our mind. We wanna learn how to be a super bomoh. How to be a super bomoh and how to be powerful, and walk around with a lot of pride and ego and (waves hand), “Try to harm me!” And then we recite a magic mantra, like one of those Thai movies and “Muhhhhmoh” and the spirits disappear. But they do have power, the chakras. And I will explain where the power comes from, on what basis, and why because you need to know. You need to know. It will be very beneficial. But, any questions on malas so I can finish off on that and go to the next subject? Any questions on malas? No right? Okay. Good.
(someone asks a question)
(answer) Well, if you’re very ill, and you have your home remedies, that’s wonderful. But if you’re very ill, it’s very good to go to a skilled physician who has practiced, who has studied, who has many years of being in their art of finding out, dictating to you what’s wrong with you. So similarly, if you go to a lama and his whole life has been dedicated towards that, wouldn’t it be more efficacious than yourself just picking? So that’s an analogy to use. At the same time, having said that, you can still pick out whoever you like and practice, because any Buddha you pick is very effective. Any Buddha. But sometimes, we need something that counters something within us that we are not aware of, so we need a particular mantra, a particular form, a particular meditation to counter that faster. Similarly, it is likened to multi-vitamins. You can take a multi-vitamin. All Buddhas are like multi-vitamins but sometimes we need an extra dose of just C if we have a flu. So let’s say that, you know, we can pray to any Buddha but we’re a little slow to learn, then Tsongkhapa will be fabulous. He will increase our memory, and there are reasons on how he increases our memory. It isn’t just chanting and it blesses and it opens. There are reasons. He opens your memory, he opens your mind, he opens your thought, and he makes your mind wider, encompassing and more accepting. And in that way it creates a lot of peace in your mind. Gives you wisdom.
So if you know all that information to pick, it is wonderful because if you pick and you do, it’s never wrong. But maybe a year, two years later, you feel, “Oh I think this one’s…I didn’t know all this information, this is more appropriate.” So what do you do, you switch allegiance? “See you later Manjushri, hello Vajrayogini”, and then you still don’t meet a Guru, and then you find out, “Oh, Chakrasamvara is more exciting, it’s very appropriate for me. Bye Vajrayogini, hello.” You know, you look like a hitchhiker. A Buddha hitchhiker. You get one ride, bye bye, get another ride, bye bye, get another…you don’t get anywhere. So it’s okay, you don’t get any disbenefit. None, none at all. Any Buddha will be fabulous when you pray. You still collect merits. You still are able to generate a good mind. You still are able to make an affinity. No problem at all. None. So don’t ever have a hang up about that. We can go to any Dharma store and buy a statue and bring it home and we can make prostrations, prayers; it’s very holy and very wonderful. No problem. And generally good for everyone. No problem. It’s a multi-vitamin. Okay? But if we’re gonna be very serious and systematic in our practice to gain results, then it’s very good to refine it. Very good. So what’s the best thing? Like finding a disease, it would be very good to go to someone who can define and refine for you. And so you practice like that so you can reach that point and you can do it. Logical isn’t it? Yeah. Okay.
( I gave a talk on rosaries/malas…and Jean Ai accurately transcribed it here. I thank her for the work. I feel this talk should help alot of people with questions related to the subject matter and more…. Tsem Rinpoche)
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