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Introduction – Some decades back in time, many Buddhist Monks in Myanmar and Lay Householders will carry their “Prayer Beads” called in Burmese “Seik Pa De” – when they are on pilgrimage or visiting monastery. The most eminent Buddhist scholar Maha Thera Ledi Sayadaw as shown in the picture was Page 5 of 15 A Gift of Dhamma Maung Paw, California
proud to carry his prayer beads when taken this photo. It is a symbol of living a virtuous life style. Looking at the history of Prayer beads – Seik Pu Ta – meaning restraining one’s mind using the beads could achieve concentration of a single point.
The name Seik Pa De comes from Seik Pu Ta - It is strictly considered as Samatha
(Concentration) Practice and is not a Vipassana practice. Since the time of Shin
Arahan Maha Thera, many aspired to meet with the next Ari Metreyya Buddha and
Maha Thera, then, practices Samatha. That was how his method of counting the
Seik Pa De came about no w, known as – Shin Arahan Prayer method.
However, in recent days, for some strange reason, Monks and Lay devotees are
seldom seen carrying their prayer beads. Perhaps, it is possible that Theravada Sect emphasized on the goal of attaining the Arahantship, instant Nibbana in this very
life time, rather than taking the next rebirth either in the Deva or the Brahma world, which still is within the realms of suffering, the cycle of rebirth (samsara). Some even feel little awkward to be called Pa De Ta Mar (one who practice Prayer Beads), which infers he is not striving to attain Nibbana in this very life time and that he is striving to take the next rebirth in either at the Deva or the Brahma world.
Deva and the Brahma realms are still within the cycle of rebirth.
It is to be noted that in the era the post Sasana year 2500 years, Buddha said that Arahantship is very hard to attain as he prophesied that only those who lives
homeless life style, like forest Monk, could attain Arahantship, if he strive hard. As for the lay householder, to achieve awakening in this very life is next to impossible.
Then the question is what shall we do to attain awakening? The only pragmatic path
is work hard to at least land in the Deva or the Brahma world where Deva and Brahma still have the hope of meeting the Buddhas:
a. Ne Metha Myat Swa Phaya1 – Miracle Buddha Image, or’ b. Ari-Metreyya Buddha Counting each bead of the 108 beads in total, one can concentrate on the Mantra2
that he or she prefers to recite. The purpose of counting the beads is to culture one’s mind to a single point focus.