The mala is a sacred substance to be used by practitioners to count mantras. It can also be carried as a reminder to oneself of pure conduct, pure motivation and as an aid to sustain the continuity of Buddhist practice in daily life.
There are two types of malas: A private mala for one's inner practice and a public mala to be used anytime and anywhere. The private mala is used during formal meditation practice and mantra accumulation. This mala should first be consecrated and then never seen or touched by any other person that does not share the same samaya vow. The public mala can be used more openly, such as during ceremonies and group practices.
Here, Lama Opak from Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery explains about the uses of different types of malas as well as the proper way to hold and use a mala.
Lama Opak is one of the senior monks at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, and has undergone the traditional three-year retreat twice at Asura Cave, Nepal. He received many instructions from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and has served the monastery as the main chant master and ritual master.