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How to Make Your Own Meditation Mala

Quick and easy how-to instructions for creating a personal string of meditation beads. Tips for using your wrist mala to count breaths and mantras as you meditate.

A mala is a meditation tool comprised of twenty-eight beads that can be used to count breaths or assist you in counting mantras during a meditation session. A traditional Tibetan monk’s mala typically consists of 108 beads with a tassle, however, a wrist mala is an excellent place to start for the beginning meditation student.

Malas make excellent gifts, and can be personalized by the choice of beads. You can use any size bead, however the sizes below tend to be comfortable for a large majority of individuals. Once you see just how easy it is to create a personal wrist mala, you’ll want to create more. Meditation malas also make beautiful accessories.

What You’ll Need To Create Your Mala:

  • Twenty-eight 8mm round beads
  • One 12 mm or larger focal bead
  • Two yards of nylon thread with attached needle
  • A beading needle
  • Premade tassle
  • Scissors

How To Make Your Wrist Mala:

  1. String all twenty-eight of your chosen 8 mm round beads onto the nylon thread using the attached beading needle. Follow those with your focal bead.
  2. Next, thread the loose end of your cord through the focal bead again to form a closed circle of beads. Your beads should now look like a bracelet.
  3. Then snip off the attached needle with your scissors and knot the ends of the string together. Leave approximately two and a half inches of loose nylon thread hanging from the knot. Snip off the rest with the scissors.
  4. Attach the premade tassle you’ve selected to the bracelet by knotting it to the loose nylon thread. You want the tassle to be attached securely. Snip off any excess thread and you’ve just made your wrist mala.

How To Use Your Wrist Mala:

Using your newly made wrist mala for meditation is simple. Traditionally the mala is held loosely in the right hand, however you can use whichever hand you feel most comfortable with. As you meditate, whether counting breaths or using a mantra, you should move each bead between your thumb and middle finger. Advance one bead for each breath or mantra.

It is important to pause between each bead for a moment of silence. This pause is an important part of the wrist mala practice. When you have circled the mala through all twenty-eight beads you will reach the focal bead. This bead is called the meru. The meru represents wisdom, and also indicates that you should then continue your mala meditation going in the opposite direction until you reach the meru again. Repeat this cycle as frequently as you feel comfortable in your mediation practice.

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User Comments
  1. jj

    On March 23, 2008 at 5:01 pm


    hi
    shouldn’t it be twenty seven beads, not twenty eight?
    thanks

  2. jj

    On March 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm


    hi
    shouldn’t it be twenty seven beads, not twenty eight? Four times twenty seven is one hundred and eight.
    thanks

  3. jj

    On March 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm


    hi
    shouldn’t it be twenty seven beads, not twenty eight? Four times twenty seven is one hundred and eight.
    thanks

  4. devotee

    On June 16, 2008 at 5:22 pm


    the 28th bead is the “guru” bead, the one that would be above the tassel and isn’t used to count mantra repetitions.

  5. Chadd

    On September 16, 2008 at 1:43 pm


    The 12mm bead is the guru bead.

    I’d recommend using the 28th 8mm bead as a “head bead” behind the guru bead, or not using it at all.

    108 is the key number, and as JJ pointed out, 108/4 = 27 beads.

  6. kimberly

    On October 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm


    this is my first time in this. i’m only 17 years old but i want a peace of mind

  7. Alfonso

    On November 23, 2008 at 12:38 am


    @Kimberly:

    Start studying before deciding if you want to go for a philosphy specially so complicated as Tibetan Buddhism. I’m a 18 year old Mahayana-Vajrayana formal buddhist practitioner and I really recommend studying before taking that decision, it musn’t be taken so lightly :P For myself, I started studying and investigating about the topic at 13 years old, first started with things as Nietzsche hahahaha and then met some intersting people along the way…My e-mail is alfonso.pizarro.r (at) gmail.com if you are intersted or want to ask anything..

    Oh and thx for the instructions… and it depends on the practice if it’s important to make a pasue before pasing the bead… for example in Shamata you pass it when you finished a full cycle of breathing, no pauses. In Vajra Sattva one for each complete prayer and sometimes you are passing more than 2 per second if you repeat very fast the short mantra of Vajra Sattva (Om Vajra Sattva Hung)

    Bye!

    Om mani padme Hung

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