Prayer Beads as Meditation Aid for Contemplation of the Gospel of Christ

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posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 09:14 AM
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I was studying the use by different world religions of prayer beads, and decided I wanted some. Being a Christian, I thought it would probably be more appropriate for me to have whatever the Christian version of prayer beads was. There is such a thing out there and is normally referred to as the Rosary, where I am more concerned with the physical thing, rather than whatever the prayers may be connected to the term, Rosary.
I made my own after studying the beads themselves, buying all the components from the local crafts supply store which happens to be for me, Michael's. I wanted a practical use for them and thought the best thing would be to use it as a liturgical aid (having come to the conclusion that Christianity had always been a liturgical religion) to memorize and recite sections of the Gospel, with Matthew being the one that seems to have been designed specifically for that kind of use.
I started out with a set of divisions already worked out by scholars, and modified it to match up with the number of beads in a rosary, being 59.
1. The Gospel of Matthew tells that Jesus was born of the house of David, in the home town of David, after it was foretolf by the angel to Mary who was later his mother.
2. Then three Magi came from the East to find the prophecied coming king. They found the baby Jesus lying in a manger.
3. Jesus' parents were warned to flee Herod and to go into Egypt to find refuge. They stayed there until they heard news that Herod had died.
4. Baptism. Jesus went to the Jordan River where John the Baptist was baptizing, and was there baptized by him.
5. Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness.
6. Jesus chose some desciples and went to begin his mission in Galilee.
7. Sermon on the Mount. Jesus preached to the people from the mountain.
8. Three Healings. Jesus healed the leper. Also the Centurian's servant, and people at Peter's house, starting with the woman of the house.
9. Calming of the Storm. Jesus slept in the boat in the lake and was woken by his desciples bacause of a storm. Jesus rebuked the storm and it became calm.
10. Gadarenes. Jesus casts out demons from two men living in tombs, which go into swine and jump into the water and drown.
11. Forgives Sins. Jesus goes to Capernaum and heals a paraletic by telling him that his sins are forgiven.
12. Jesus met Matthew and said, "Follow me", then ate in his house with other tax collectors, which was criticized by the Pharisees.
13. John’s disciples asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples not fast?”
14. Jesus goes to raise the dead daughter of a ruler, and on the way a woman touches his garment as he passes by.
15. Jesus gave sight to two blind men, then drove out a demon from a mute who then began to talk. The Pharisees said he did it through the power of the ruler of the demons.
16. Jesus had compassion for the people and said,"Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers."
17. Sending Out the Twelve Apostles.
18. Jesus and John the Baptist.
19. Woes on Unrepentant Cities.
20. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
21. Lord of the Sabbath.
22. God’s Special Servant, Jesus and Beelzebul, Trees and Their Fruit, The Sign of Jonah, The Return of the Unclean Spirit, Jesus’ True Family.
23. The Parable of the Sower, The Parable of the Weeds, The Parable of the Mustard Seed, The Parable of the Yeast, The Purpose of Parables, Explanation for the Disciples, Parables on the Kingdom of Heaven.
24. Rejection at Nazareth.
25. The Death of John the Baptist.
26. Walking on Water.
27. Breaking Human Traditions, True Defilement
28. A Canaanite Woman’s Faith, Healing Many Others, The Feeding of the Four Thousand.
29. The Demand for a Sign, The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
30. Peter’s Confession, First Prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection.
31. The Transfiguration.
32. The Disciples’ Failure to Heal.
33. The Temple Tax
34. Questions About the Greatest, The Parable of the Lost Sheep, Restoring Christian Relationships.
35. The Parable of the Unforgiving Slave,
36. Questions About Divorce,
37. Jesus and Little Children, The Rich Young Man,
38. Workers in the Vineyard.
39. Third Prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
40. A Request for James and John, Two Blind Men Healed
41. The Triumphal Entry
42. Cleansing the Temple
43. The Withered Fig Tree, The Authority of Jesus, The Parable of the Two Sons, The Parable of the Tenants.
44. The Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Paying Taxes to Caesar, Marriage and the Resurrection, The Greatest Commandment.
45. The Messiah: David’s Son and Lord
46. Seven Woes, Judgment on Israel.
47. The Destruction of the Temple, Signs of the End of the Age, Persecution of Disciples, The Abomination of Desolation, The Arrival of the Son of Man, The Parable of the Fig Tree, Be Ready! The Faithful and Wise Slave.
48. The Parable of the Ten Virgins, The Parable of the Talents, The Judgment
49. The Plot Against Jesus.
50. Jesus visited the home of his friends in Bathany. He was anointed by a waman who had been forgiven of many sins.
51. Jesus ate a last supper with his desciples close to the time of the Passover.
52. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
53. Jesus was betrayed and arrested.
54. Jesus was tried and rejected by the Jewish leaders.
55. Jesus was tried (and found innocent) by Pilate.
56. Jesus was crucified.
57. Jesus died and was placed in a tomb.
58. Jesus rose from the dead earlyon the morning of the third day.
59. Jesus gave his desciples the commission to convert the nations.

To make it easier to relate each of these themes from Matthew to a specific bead, I made a digram from a photo of the rosary bead set I made, then linked an abrevieted version of the above to each bead, where it is more helpful, I believe, to form a picture in your mind like that, where periodically you could look at the longer version, but ideally, you would read parts of the sections in the Gospel itself, along with readings from commentaries.

What I found as I was putting all these ideas into practice, it that it helps a lot if you only had to actually memorize one word from each section, meaning you remember 59 and the order they fall in, and this is just something that comes to you through repetition, meaning doing it every day, as a ritual. One thing builds on another, with the beads as a sort of road-map that you can touch and feel and see. Also looking at the diagram.
SHORT VERSION

Cross
birth
1. Magi
2. Herod
3. baptism
temptation
1. Galilee
2. sermon
3. healings
4. storm
5. Gadarenes
6. forgiveness
7. Matthew
8. fasting
9. daughter
10. mute
reapers
1. twelve
2. one
3. cities
4. weary
5. Sabbath
6. Isaiah
7. sower
8. prophet
9. death
10. water
defilement
1. Canaanite
2. sign
3. confession
4. transfiguration
5. failure
6. tax
7. greatest
8. unforgiving
9. divorce
10. children
vineyard
1. prediction
2. request
3. entry
4. cleansing
5. tree
6. banquet
7. Messiah
8. woes
9. signs
10. ten
plot
1. Bethany
2. supper
3. Gethsemane
4. arrest
5. Sanhedrin
6. Pilate
7. crucifixion
8. death
9. resurrection
10. commission




posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 09:20 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

People should do whatever makes them feel better so long as it doesnt intrude on anyone else's rights.

So its nice if this makes you happy.

But surely you realize that religion is brain washing?

That most people adhere to a certain faith simply because theyre born into it.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 09:20 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

Double posting...

edit on 22-9-2012 by gladtobehere because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 09:32 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


Just some personal knowledge and experience of my own...

I use what are called japa mala, which are sometimes called "Buddhist rosaries", but are essentially just prayer beads, although they may not necessarily take the form of beads. They are a good tool in meditation, when reciting a mantra (om mani padme hum, om a ra pa ca na dhih, or any other number of mantras), to keep track of how many mantras you have recited.

Also, I can see no issue with meditation and contemplation upon the Gospel of Christ. Oftentimes Buddhists will meditate and contemplate upon sutras, practice zazen while thinking of a koan.

There is also Vajrayana, or the Diamond Vehicle, in which a Vajrayana Buddhist will meditate for long periods of time while imagining the manifestation of a particular Bodhisattva so that the practitioner may cultivate the Buddha qualities of the Bodhisattva. This is, to my surprise, not much different than Christian prayer.

What you describe seems like it would be very applicable in your life, and you seem to have a plan and a passion to do it, and that you've really mapped it all out.


Either way, I wish you luck in your endeavors and hope your meditation, contemplation, and prayer brings you peace and happiness. It certainly has for me, and I hope it does for you.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 10:13 AM
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Look into OT's Phylacteries. Some Jews still bind them to their heads and hands.

And as far as brainwashing goes: EVERYTHING taught is brainwashing. You know that 1+1=2 because you're taught that all your life. You're in a 10 base system (counting that bumps to the next line to the left,at the 10 mark). Have you thought much about when 11+11 does NOT equal 22? Grab a ruler. 11+11 equals 1 foot 10 inches.

In the 12 base: 1(10)
In the 10 base: 22

So: 1(10)=22.

No wonder some kids have a hard time with things like time and measurements. They have to learn that sometimes the base system changes, when before that point, the base system never changed. I can't tell you how many adults can't read a tape measure.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 10:44 AM
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reply to post by gladtobehere
 

But surely you realize that religion is brain washing?

That most people adhere to a certain faith simply because theyre born into it.
That could orient you to a particular religion, for example Christianity, but from there, people generally should have the ability to alter their beliefs into a particular sub-form of that religion, hopefully to the better, meaning where there is a emphasis on being good in a practical way that benefits the greater community of man where you live.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 10:47 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


Do each of these beads carry a different lesson for you to use in your life? I would recommend that you not just assign a chapter to each bead, but also memorize what that chapter teaches you and how you can apply it to your life. That way, when you use the beads, you think of ways to make these things happen for yourself, instead of relying on Jesus or "God".

After all, give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life. The beads should help you with the latter.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 10:55 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


While your wording is likely to get a rise out of people, your sentiment is spot-on!
edit on 22-9-2012 by CynicalDrivel because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 10:56 AM
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reply to post by ManjushriPrajna
 

Also, I can see no issue with meditation and contemplation upon the Gospel of Christ. Oftentimes Buddhists will meditate and contemplate upon sutras, practice zazen while thinking of a koan.

I really appreciate your post and I think this (what I am quoting from your post) the sort of thing I had in mind, and I will have to do some looking into these specifics you brought up.
The Tibetan Mala was what got my attention early on, while exploring the concept of prayer wheels (after seeing them in videos filmed in Tibet and Nepal) and looking at hand held versions you can buy online. I was going to buy the Tibetan beads but decided to work at stringing my own. I experimented with ones that were around the house and settled on "pottery" beads (as in the picture) which are glazed fired ceramic pieces with the center holes molded in vs. drilled as you would find with solid cored beads.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 11:00 AM
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reply to post by CynicalDrivel
 

Look into OT's Phylacteries. Some Jews still bind them to their heads and hands.

I'm pretty sure they all do, at least once in their lives, though like you say, it would probably be "some" who do it on a regular basis.



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 

Do each of these beads carry a different lesson for you to use in your life? I would recommend that you not just assign a chapter to each bead, but also memorize what that chapter teaches you and how you can apply it to your life.
They aren't "chapters" but are sections, according to the theory (by Michael Goulder) that Matthew was written with the purpose in mind to go through the book, section by section, over the course of a year, on Sundays and other holy days, vs. reading the entire book to the congregation in one setting, which would take hours, and would more likely put the audience to sleep.

That way, when you use the beads, you think of ways to make these things happen for yourself, instead of relying on Jesus or "God".

After all, give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life. The beads should help you with the latter.
I am putting my system out as an example, and not so much as something to be adhered to. Everyone can create there own system of contemplation, meditation, or prayer, whatever but the core principle is that this sort of thing, tactile aids like beads, is universal in traditional religious practice, so there has to be something to it and why not take advantage of something that is natural to human beings?
edit on 22-9-2012 by jmdewey60 because: add Bible quote: "For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God." Romans 8:19



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 12:59 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


The Rosary is a beautiful, supernatural, and miraculous prayer. More so, the sorrowful mysteries

Peace to you



posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 11:35 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

Dear jmdewey60,

That is among the most beautiful, useful, and valuable things I have seen on ATS, certainly in the top five. I am still in awe. I wish I could send my heart through the keyboard, but you have been given a special blessing that makes me very glad for you.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Sep, 23 2012 @ 12:25 AM
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reply to post by backcase
 

The Rosary is a beautiful, supernatural, and miraculous prayer. More so, the sorrowful mysteries

Those are of interest to me, but not being Catholic, they are a bit of a mystery to me.
I did run across something on Wikipedia I think, that said some priests carry special rosary's that are longer than the normal ones, on account of additional mysteries that I suppose only they know about.



posted on Sep, 23 2012 @ 12:47 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


You kidding? Non-jewish Christians are likely to have tried one, once. Made one for Sunday school as a small kid. Along with making my own oil lamp (parable of the virgins), my own silly putty (I can't for the life of me remember why), made crosses, colored, ect. Started my lifelong fascination with simple craftwork, I guess. ....(hrm. I need to get over my fear of electric saws, although. )



posted on Sep, 23 2012 @ 12:56 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

Dear jmdewey60,

I'm certainly not the best guy to provide instruction on, or explanation of, the Rosary, but I'll give it a shot.

The most common Rosary has five groups of ten beads. (Yeah, there are others, but that's for another time.) There were three mysteries up until about ten years ago when the Pope introduced the fourth. Each day has one of the four mysteries assigned to it.

If, say, the day is for the Sorrowful mysteries, you use the five sections of beads to meditate on five events in Christ's life. They're things like the scourging at the temple, etc. Some religious orders used Rosaries with 15 sections of five beads, not because there were any hidden mysteries, but so all three mysteries could be said at once on their own set of beads.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Sep, 23 2012 @ 01:04 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 

. . . so all three mysteries could be said at once on their own set of beads.

That makes sense, thanks for the information.



posted on Sep, 23 2012 @ 08:03 PM
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Read the Rosary Handbook by Mitch Finley. It tells the history of the beads and how many religions use meditation beads. it is a very spiritual journey, and it explains how it's not just a repetition of prayers. the Rosary is a deep spiritual meditation of the mysteries( miracles) in Christianity.



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 02:40 PM
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Magical beads to aid in prayer and contemplation. That is witchcraft and idolatry. What cult are you in again?



posted on Sep, 27 2012 @ 02:52 PM
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reply to post by lonewolf19792000
 

Magical beads to aid in prayer and contemplation. That is witchcraft and idolatry. What cult are you in again?

Have you ever counted on your fingers?
Do you have "Magical" fingers?





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