About Buddhist Malas

The word mala means “garland” or rosary in Sanskrit. Prayer beads have been used by practitioners from many disciplines for thousands of years. Buddha himself recommended the mantra mala practice as a path to enlightenment for ordinary people.

Malas are employed to count mantra recitations and to focus one’s awareness and concentration during practice. Counting mantras occupies the hand (body), reciting mantra occupies the voice (speech) and visualization of the deity occupies the mind. By focusing these three aspects of ourselves onto the practice at once, the benefits are multiplied and the merit accumulates.

The most common set of Buddhist Prayer Beads or Malas are numbered at 108 beads not counting the Guru Bead. However, malas of smaller numbers of beads are also used depending on need or preference. Malas numbering 9, 18, 27, and 54 beads can be used in a similar way.