A Guide to Buddhist Prayer Beads

Buddhist prayer beads are a counter for reciting Buddha’s name. Buddhists usually take it in hand to count how many times they recite Buddha’s name. It represents merits, Buddha nature, compassion, kindness, luck, perfection, and Buddha-mind. The Buddha bead is very popular among the fields of monks and the laity. It originated from reciting the three treasures of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Apply the beads to illuminate troubles both of mind and behaviors. Another meaning of a Buddhist bead is no killing. The top of the five precepts in Buddhism is no killing. We are alive. Everybody is the same. Buddhism pays special attention to this. It emphasizes good health and longevity without killing. We take Buddhist beads to remind ourselves to cherish life. Nowadays, the Buddhist beads have developed into a beautiful fashion accessory. It brings luck and fortune among non-Buddhists. It is not necessary to be concerned about the Buddhist bead’s texture, amount, and structure.

There are various Buddhist prayer beads in the market with different kinds of material. When speaking of the application, we can divide it into three kinds:

1. Holding beads. Normally these are used for counting while reciting Buddha’s name. Holding beads are said to manage our mindset, help us practice Buddhism, and eliminate wild fancy so as to improve our wisdom after long term practice as well as benefit us and others. Great merits will be received.

7mm Coconut Shell Wood 108 Buddhist Prayer Beads Mala

7mm Coconut Shell Wood 108 Buddhist Prayer Beads Mala

2. Bracelet beads. The bracelet usually has 18 beads. Most bracelets are made of fine, colorful materials. Many people like to wear the bracelets even if they are non-Buddhist. That makes bracelet beads a fashion accessory. I believe the people who like to wear bracelet beads are fated to Buddha. They must be blessed by Buddha.

Lobular Red Sandalwood Buddhist Prayer Beads Mala Bracelet

Lobular Red Sandalwood Buddhist Prayer Beads Mala Bracelet

3. Necklace beads. Most necklace beads are made of crystal, carnelian, emerald, coral, Baltic amber, turquoise, or other fine materials. The materials must look even, without significant difference in color. The texture is smooth and moisturizing, bright and clear. A marker bead is inserted every 27 beads. A beautiful Chinese knot is under the guru bead grouping, representing the head of Buddha. The Buddha bead is normally round, symbolizing success and perfection. Some Buddha beads have the appearance of an apple or bottle shape. It just depends on what you like.

In order to understand more about the Buddha bead, we would like to introduce the Buddha bead numbers and the name of each part. The number of a Buddha beads mala is usually 108 beads. According to the record of Sutra, the best Buddha bead has 1080 beads. Because it’s too long, it is only for few eminent monks and private cultivators. Sometimes these long Buddha beads are used to decorate the puja by eminent monks. The better size of Buddha beads mala is 108 beads. The number means let 108 troubles pass away. Then we may keep calm and quiet. Other sizes include 54, 42, 36, 27, 21, 18, and 14 beads separately. A standard Buddha beads mala must include one guru bead, 108 prayer beads, three marker beads, and some accessories. All are weaved by a string. The marker bead is in different color and slightly larger in size vs. prayer beads. It is used to apart the prayer beads every 27 beads. The marker bead is inserted ahead of the No. 27 prayer bead for the size of 54 beads. And it would be every 9 beads for the size of 27 beads. The Guru bead is also called the mother bead. It is commonly known as “Three-Hole Beads”. There is only one for each Buddha beads mala, normally. But a few have two guru beads. It is a connection between all prayer beads and other accessories.

The sizes of a bracelet include 27, 21, 18, and 14 beads which have individual meaning for each size. Finding the suitable size for you is the key. It is not necessary to obsess about the number of beads. In general, it depends on the sizes both of the bead and the wrist. The size of wrist sometimes decides the size of bead or number of bead. In general, the size of wrist for most adults is not very different. It is assumed the size of bracelet for most adults is similar. The number of bead just depends on the size. For example:

12 beads with the size of 20mm in diameter
13 beads with the size of 18mm in diameter
14 beads with the size of 16mm in diameter
15 beads with the size of 15mm in diameter
16 beads with the size of 14mm in diameter
17/18 beads with the size of 12mm in diameter
19 beads with the size of 10mm in diameter

People may order the Bracelet bead from a seller according to the size of their wrist.