What Are Mala Beads
THE 108 MALA
Mala beads are a string of beads traditionally used in prayer and meditation. They are also a beautiful reminder of our intentions. Malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity. This sādhanā (practice) is known in Sanskrit as japa. Malas are typically made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads.
Malas can be made from gemstones that match the intention of your practice, and often malas are placed in shrines as a reminder of affirmations. Malas are also referred to as mala beads, Buddhist beads or Buddhist prayer beads.
There are several mala styles. Some malas are made with only 108 beads, a guru, and/or a tassel. Our mala rings and bracelets come in various counts of auspicious numbers for use in shorter meditations.
Mala beads have been used in Buddhism and Hinduism for centuries. Buddhists malas are often made up of different types of wood, such as sandalwood and rosewood. In Hinduism, you will find malas made with rudraksha, which is considered a very holy and protective seed.
There are numerous explanations why there are 108 beads, with the number 108 bearing special religious significance in a number of Hindu and Buddhist traditions. In traditional Buddhist thought, people are said to have 108 afflictions or kleshas. This same number is also used in Japanese New Year services where a bell is rung 108 times.