Almost every religion has a form of mala beads. The Desert Fathers used knotted ropes. The Catholics use the Holy Rosary. The Hindus and Buddhist use Japa Mala. Japa is the repeating of a mantra. Mala (Sanskrit) means garland or wreath.
Know that these mala beads are made by a Vet with PTSD in hopes to bring awareness to and raise money for other Vets...with or without PTSD. Money raised through the MalaforVets initiative supports Veterans Yoga missions like: The Give Back Yoga Foundation, The Warrior Meditation Project, and Mindful Yoga Therapy.
Traditional malas used in Tibetan practices have 108 beads used for counting. This represents four sets of 27 beads. 27 being three multiples of nine beads. Counting beads always occur in multiples of nine, representing the 9 yanas, or paths, of Buddhist practice:
Three multiples of 9 symbolizes purification of body, speech, and mind. There are four sets of 27 beads symbolizing the Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha.
If spacer beads are used, there are three, placed so that the counted beads are broken into 4 sets of 27 beads. The three spacer beads represent the three jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
The Guru bead represents the mind of the Guru, and the cap bead placed above it (usually containing three carved rings) represents the three enlightened kayas, or manifestations, of the Buddha: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nimanakaya. The Guru and cap bead are not part of the counted beads, and it is taught that one never "passes over" these beads. Instead one reverses the mala, and begins counting back in the other direction. To "pass over" the Guru and cap beads is said to be disrespectful to the Buddha and Guru.
All Tibetan ritual implements contain symbolic representations meant to strengthen our connection to, and internalization of, the Dharma. Understanding of these various symbolic representations is important to proper use of these implements, and deepens our practice.
Custom Mala Beads
I can make customized mala beads that will help you be the best you...you can be. The mala beads I make do not have any inherent esoteric value. That value is assigned by the owner. I will create them using gemstones and wood beads that have "accepted" healing/spiritual powers.