How to use your Tibetan Buddhist Mala
Recite one mantra; move your thumb and forefinger along the next bead of the strand; then repeat.
The Tibetan Buddhist mala, or beaded rosary, aids the practitioner in counting mantra recitations while also helping one to focus concentration and awareness. As one works the mala's beads with one's fingers, recites the mantra and visualizes the deity, one is at once involving the body, speech and mind.
Some Mala Basics
The mala is held with gentleness and respect, generally in the left hand. One bead is counted for each recitation of the mantra, beginning with the first bead after the "guru" bead- the larger, more decorative bead at the mala's end. The first bead is held between the index finger and thumb, and with each count the thumb pulls another bead in place over the index finger.
After completing a full circuit of the mala, the practitioner flips the mala around 180 degrees (this takes practice to accomplish) and continues as before, in reverse order. One aims to avoid passing over the "guru" bead, as doing so is symbolically like stepping over one's teacher.