Thursday, May 1, 2008

New Craft Project

Some time ago, I saw a Buddhist wearing a bracelet made of beads. It looked somewhat like a rosary. I thought it looked kinda neat, and so did some research and found out that they are called "Malas" and actually may have been the source of the modern Christian rosary beads.

So I decided that I needed one, but that I would rather make one than simply order one off the Internet. Well, yesterday I went out to the craft store after work and bought the beads and other stuff. Last night, after One Ring and I came home from our Wednesday church meeting (discussing Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth), I set to work in putting it together and came up with a sort of rough draft:

Anywho, there are 27 beads in this one (there are 108 beads in a full Mala, and any reduction "has to" have some number that can factor into 108 - of course, I'm not one to follow rules, necessarily). The next one I make - thankfully there are enough leftover materials that I can do another one - will have 18, as this one is waaaaay too large for my wrist. I'll probably keep the seashell motif as they serve as my connection to the ocean on a literal and metaphorical level. I also want to add a tassel to the clasp area on the back end, as all of the "official" ones I've seen made by Buddhists seem to have one. Plus they just look better, in my humble opinion.

By the way - and as I look at the clock I see that yet another patient is late for his appointment - Grrr.

(30 minutes later) Well, the patient came and left. Sorry for the break there.

I think I was about to talk about the use of the Mala. Actually it works the same as a rosary. You run the beads through your fingers - here the index finger, representing the ego, is extended and is not allowed to touch the beads - saying a mantra or prayer as you pause on each bead. The larger bead - in my case a shell - is called the "guru" bead, and either a different mantra / prayer can be used or everything can be kept the same. The mantra I have been using is the famous (relatively speaking) one from The Heart Sutra, "Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha." That roughly translates as, "Gone. Gone. Gone beyond. Gone completely beyond. Awakening. So let it be." Basically it is a reminder of impermanence, a key belief of Buddhism and Hinduism.

So this has been my spiritual exercise of the last several days, and I have to say I find it rewarding.

Well, the day is about to get crazy, as I have several meetings and assessments to do. At least it will make the day go faster. Peace.

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