Mala Beads

What are Mala Beads?

Mala Beads

Mala Beads are a set of strung beads used for meditation, mindfulness, counting mantra, prayer, yoga & reflection.
Buddhist mala beads are traditionally made of wood, bone or seeds but can be made of any material. We use a selection of materials to make our malas including sandalwood, rosewood, bodhi beads, rudraksha and genuine gemstones.
We hand knot our malas and individually bless each one with the multiplying mantra OM RUCHIRA MANI PRAVARTAYA HUM
Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning garland. The Tibetan word for mala is threngwa.
Mala beads are sometimes referred to as prayer beads, rosary beads or Japa mala, japa is a Sanskrit word meaning “repeat internally”.

Tibetan Buddhist Mala Beads

108 Beads

A mala necklace is made with 108 beads; this is an auspicious number as the Buddha spoke of 108 defilements (also known as afflictions or impure thoughts). After reciting 100 mantras eight extra mantras are recited to allow for any that were chanted when concentration lapsed.

Guru Bead

The guru bead, also known as the mother bead, is usually a larger or more decorative bead and usually has 3 holes with a collar bead next to it. The guru bead is the 109th bead and is not counted during mantra recitation.

Counter Beads

108 Tibetan prayer beads often have 3 extra beads known as “counter” beads placed at 27 bead intervals – these are to aid the mantra counting process (this is why some of our malas have 111 beads… 108 beads + 3 counter beads = 111 beads).
A mala counter can also be used to assist with mantra counting, we offer 2 types of counter –

  1. a clip on counter
  2. a counter that loops between the beads
Jade Buddhist Mala Beads

108 Mala with End Beads / Tassel

We make our 108 bead mala necklaces with a choice of end beads or cotton tassel.
~ End Beads ~
The 3 end beads is our signature style mala, we were inspired to use these numbers symbolically from the Buddha’s teachings – the 3 Jewels (the Buddha, the Dharma & the Sangha) & the 6 Perfections (generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration & wisdom). The end bead malas are finished with either a snake knot or slide knot.
~ Tassel ~
We hand make all our tassels with 100% cotton thread, available in a variety of colours.

How to use Mala Beads

How to use Mala Beads

Mala beads are generally held in the left hand and used with gentleness and respect; they are sacred beads intended for spiritual practice.

One bead is counted for each recitation of the mantra, starting with the first bead next to the “guru” bead. The guru bead, or mother bead, is often larger and usually has 3 holes.

1. Start with the first bead next to the guru bead, recite the first mantra whilst holding the first bead between thumb and finger.
2. Pull the next bead towards you with your thumb and chant the mantra again; then repeat.
3. Tibetan mala beads often have 3 counter beads at 27 bead intervals. The counter bead is a good place to stop chanting and resume later. A mala counter can easily be used to indicate where you stopped counting as it neatly clips on between the beads. (Or a tassel mala counter can be used too).
4. After completing a full circuit of the mala flip the mala round 180 degrees and resume chanting with the beads in the opposite direction so as not to pass over the guru bead.

Mala Knots

Our 108 mala necklaces are made with a choice of 2 knots: an adjustable slide knot or a traditional snake knot.

    Mala Beads adjustable slide knot

  1. Adjustable slide knot

    The slide knot moves up and down to adjust the tension of the mala beads.
    All our mala bracelets are made with an adjustable slide knot.

  2. Tibetan snake knot
  3. Traditional Tibetan snake knot

    The tension of the mala beads is fixed (we leave a 1cm+ gap in the thread to allow for moving the beads along whilst reciting mantra)

Most of our 108 mala product pages list which knot is used, if you have a knot preference please let us know at the time of ordering.

Mala Bracelet

We make wrist mala bracelets in 4 sizes. We use an auspicious number of beads for our mala bracelets, these are divisions of 108 (18 beads and 27 beads) or 21 beads for 21 mantra practice.

History of Mala Beads

The ancient tradition of using a string of beads for practicing meditative principles is believed to originate from India during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha (c. 563–483 B.C.).
Rosary beads are used throughout different cultures & religions for the repetition of prayers & mantras, for meditation, yoga and for calming & balancing the mind.
The mala beads are held in the hand, the motivation or intention is set, then one at a time the beads are used to chant, pray or say an affirmation.
The prayer beads help to focus concentration and keep the mind from wandering. A positive image, or deity, can be visualised at the same time as feeling the beads & chanting – involving body, speech & mind.

History of Mala Beads

May you be filled with loving kindness

May you be filled with loving kindness