Hello! Welcome to my little corner of the Internet. My name is Tammy and I’m the founder of Malas In Bloom. I’ve been handcrafting small-batch gemstone Mala Beads from my home in California since 2014. I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to wake up in the morning and do what I love.
In the last year or so, I've been asked many times about the proper use of Mala Beads and whether or not they are a tool that anyone can use. I'd like to address that question and be as transparent as possible about myself, my company, and my belief surrounding Mala Bead jewelry.
Mala Beads first emerged over 3,000 years ago in Hindu and Buddhist practices. They are made of 108 beads and 1 guru bead, which help you keep count while reciting mantras during prayer and meditation. Malas In Bloom Mala Beads are made with 108 beads, honoring the origin of the practice. Additionally, each Mala is hand-knotted with semi-precious gemstones and materials that hold special meaning. Mountains of love and intention go into each of my designs.
Back to the question at hand: Is wearing or using a Mala taboo, or cultural appropriation, or is it an acceptable meditation tool for all beings everywhere to use and benefit from? There have been a couple of well-known influencers that have made these claims, deterring and discouraging heartfelt people from making and using them.
The answer is no. I cannot speak on behalf of others. I can only tell you that as someone practicing her dharma, I truly believe in welcoming and encouraging others to wear and use Mala Beads regardless of ethnicity, religion, spiritual practice (or lack thereof). Most people in the Buddhist community are not offended by the use of Mala Beads because their purpose is to help people focus and be mindful during meditation. Anyone can own, wear, make, or use a Mala. The purpose of prayer and meditation is unique to every individual. Mala meditation itself is considered non-theistic—anyone can practice it.
If you are interested in diving into your mind, body and spirit with such tools as Mala Beads, ask yourself: What is your intention, or motivation behind making or wearing Mala Beads? If it comes from a deep reverence and respect for them, the crystals and their meaning, or a place of wholesome appreciation for an ancient and beautiful practice, how could anyone possibly be offended by that, or call it cultural appropriation?
For those who would still be offended by someone else's use of Mala Beads, I would coach them to focus on their own cultivation of compassion, patience, tolerance, kindness and oneness, and other precious qualities that lead to true happiness.
As for me, I am a mother and wife, born and raised on the coast of Southern California and now living just east towards the hills in Valley Center. My Dharma is being lived with the utmost clarity and only I can know what that looks like on the inside, even if my outer appearance doesn't easily portray that. Dharma isn't found in appearances, displays, symbols, religious texts or objects. These things are simply additions that have been created from other pre-existing belief systems and cultures.
I can't thank you enough for all the love you've shown Malas In Bloom through the years! I am so grateful to be part of a community that appreciates my work. I hope you enjoy wearing my pieces as much as I enjoy making them for you!