My name is Jason Walz and I am the proprietor of Shade of the Bodhi Tree. I also run Custom Mala Shop where over the years I have created thousands of custom Buddhist malas. During these years I have come in contact with a large variety of vendors in Asia as well as North America. I decided to start a business where I sell non-custom malas, charms, pendants, loose beads and other Buddhist supplies. I still make custom malas at Custom Mala Shop but Shade of the Bodhi Tree caters to a different customer.
I strive to keep Shade of the Bodhi Tree simple and uncluttered and to stock it with quality products offered at a fair price.
I consider myself a non-denominational Dharma Practitioner who follows no single teacher or lineage. I originally became interested in Dharma Practice through the Martial Arts and Taoism. While practicing martial arts I became much more interested in the “why” of the arts rather than the physical process (although really they are one and the same). So, I first started to investigate Taoism. That in turn led me to investigate Buddhism and the Buddha’s teachings. The Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path resonated with me immediately. I had always been interested in religion in general (I have a BA in anthropology) but the Buddha’s teachings seemed to transcend the rote scholarly approach to religion. They offered to me a way to approach life that simply “made sense”.
Now, several years later, I no longer practice the martial arts but I focus a great deal of my time not only contemplating the Buddha’s teachings but also hopefully living them partially through my effort of practicing Right Livelihood. Right Livelihood is of course the 5th step in the Eight Fold Path. It is through Right Livelihood that one attempts to earn a living while not harming others; while not acting selfishly; while contributing to the lessening of the suffering of others. I hope that the malas I make and the tools I sell here at Shade help to accomplish this.
A little more biographically speaking I am a single dad of two stunningly wonderful kids. I also have two Rhodesian Ridgebacks that help me make Malas by sleeping on the sofa all day (or under my feet!). I live in sunny Mesa Arizona and ride my mountain bike on the local trails daily.