Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Buddha Chitta malas

The Bodhichitta tree is considered sacred by Buddhists, bodhi meaning “awakened” and chitta, “heart-mind” in Sanskrit; Bodhichitta therefore literally means “awakened heart-mind.” Rosaries of 108 seeds are used as a counting aid while reciting mantras. It helps to keep track of time while praying or meditation.

As per the researcher, Khem Raj Bhattarai and Mitra Lal Bodhichitta the tree belongs to a distinct species of Ziziphus budhensis—unique to central Nepal (Timal area) only.  Interestingly, it is said that Guru Rinpoche, who introduced Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet was in meditation retreat in Timal area of Nepal and after finding out environment favorable for Budhi chitta in that region he introduced the Buddha chitta plant. 

Having this sacred plant in that area, Guru Rinpoche blessed that the local people and their future generations can purify their bad karma through Buddha chitta mala mantra recitation. Local people have realized  this and treats  the Buddha chitta mala with great respect, always putting the mala in the righteous place the mala deserves. Today the people also earn huge income from the sale of the malas.

As per Seeds of Faith, the Bodhi Tree at Chakzamtokha, facing Shaba (Bhutan) on the other side of the river, is believed to have grown from the staff of Drubthob Thangtong Gyalpo, with which he travelled the entire world in a day. 

Some people believe it to be the walking staff of Lama Nenyingpa while others say that it was planted by Lama Drukpa Kunley. Drubthob Thangtong Gyalpo built an iron bridge there, known as chakzam in Dzongkha; and hence the place was called Chakzamtokha. The bridge, however, was washed away completely by floods and today there are no remains at all. There are forms on the side of a cliff which people, based on the oral tradition, say are the Guru's head and the yoni of a dakini. The tree from which rosary beads are obtained used to be looked after by descendants of the patrons of Drubthob Thangtong Gyalpo and beads were offered to the Central Monastic Body. But the place was left unattended for sometime. Now, it is under the care of Her Majesty Azhi Tshering Yangdon and a caretaker has been appointed.

The Malas are made by harvesting the seeds and a hole is made. They are then segregated as per size and eyes.

The price of the Buddha chitta mala varies depending on sizes and the typical type of natural design on the seeds called as eyes. The smaller seeds mala fetches higher prices. Similarly, the more the eyes on the mala, the costlier it become.

It is good to own a Bodhichitta Mala.

Image Courtesy: Nepal handicrafts.Leveled by me

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