A Zen Thing

Happy to announce that the Zen ensos are now for sale exclusively at Shade of the Bodhi Tree. and Custom Mala Shop.


For those of you not familiar with the site, let me do a little rundown.

I discovered this shop online when doing some research.  The place is run by Jason Walz, who is doing something incredibly profound with his work.  He’s making custom malas by hand, with great quality materials.  Trust me, this is rare.


I got into silver and skull rings because I got tired of the junk.  There was so much shit out there.   Hollow-backed mass-produced, soldered junk made by 12 year olds in a sweatshop somewhere.  I wanted to make a quality product.  Truly custom made work cast as one piece with no solder, no hollowed-out backs, and made by me sitting on a workbench surrounded by sketches.

I get the feeling Jason is doing much of the same thing, reminding his clients that there are still artisans in this country who can make things by hand out of real materials.

That’s his work above.  Hand drilled with legit Chinese knotting chord and REAL stones.


Do a google search for malas and you’ll see dozens of places that sell them.  Hell, they are extremely popular right now – not just for Buddhists, but for people who want to make a fashion statement.  Thing is, most of them are crap.  They’re strung on cheap wire or freakin’ fishing line.  They snap easily.  Their made with shitty imitation stones or wood that’s been stained with the same kind of crap you’ll find in Home Depot that rubs off on your skin and gives you a rash.  The tassels are machine-made out of crappy threads that disintegrate shortly after public wear.   They’re also made by people who don’t give a shit about what they’re doing.  Some low-salaried employee who’s making them on an assembly line or a hobbiest who doesn’t take it seriously.

Not Jason’s stuff.  He is a master craftsman.  He’s studied, he’s researched…..he gets it.


Best thing is, his work is entirely custom.  He has a few pre-made pieces as well, but the FUN of ordering from him is that he has a custom design tool on his page.  You start off by selecting what type of mala you want.  Full 108 bead count?  No problem.  Something smaller for the wrist?  Piece of cake.  Turns out Jason will also make crazy configurations that aren’t on his site if you send him an email.



Once you get your basic configuration laid out, you pick what type of beads you want.  Onyx?  Bone?   Lotus seed? Sandal wood?  Jade?  Crystal?  There are a lot of options.  Plus, virtually EVERY part of the mala is customizable.  Spacers, tassels, chord knots, pendants, guru beads, etc.  Goes on and on.

In fact, I’ve just finished a skull guru bead that will be available at Custom Mala Shop as well.


If you don’t know what a guru bead is, it’s the bead at the center of the mala where the knot and/or tassel is.  You can see what I’m talking about below.


you can imagine that knot coming out of the jaw of that skull.  Should look fantastic.  They’re not up on Jason’s site yet, so check back in a week or so.

Well, I didn’t want this to be one big commercial for Jason’s work, but frankly I just admire the hell out of it.   I’m going to be doing more articles like this: reviews of work from artists I admire.   My enso pendants and that new skull guru bead are available exclusively through his site.   I’ve had so many requests to make beaded pieces like these for clients and I’m now happy to say that if your’e interested, you can finally get one complete with an MT Maloney skull or enso pendant.

Taker ‘er easy.  Stay tuned……