How many beads in a Mala?
One Hundred and Eight
There are 108 beads in a mala plus one guru bead, the guru bead is not counted during mantra recitation. Tibetan mala beads often have counter beads at 27 bead intervals to aid the counting process. This is why some of our malas have 111 beads : 108 beads + 3 counter beads = 111 beads.
Why 108 Beads in a Mala?
108 is a Sacred Number
In Tibetan Buddhism, there are 108 volumes of sacred texts. These texts are known as Kangyur in Tibetan, or Sutras in Sanskrit, and contain teachings directly from the Buddha. 108 is a sacred number; there are 108 defilements (also known as afflictions or impure thoughts) as taught by the Buddha. After reciting 100 mantras, eight extra mantras are recited to allow for any that were chanted when concentration lapsed.
How many beads in a Mala Bracelet?
Divisions of One Hundred and Eight
Traditionally the number of beads in a mala bracelet is a factor of 108. For example, a 27 bead wrist mala would be used 4 times to recite 108 mantras.
We make mala bracelets with an auspicious number of beads: 27 beads (4 rounds of a 27 bead wrist mala equates to 108) 18 beads (6 rounds of an 18 bead wrist mala equates to 108) 21 beads (for Green Tara mantra & flower offering mantra)
We also offer mala bracelets based on wrist size rather than the number of beads. Please see the individual product pages for wrist sizes and check the wrist mala size guide.