Japa mala beads are a string of beads used to count sacred mantras in the yogic and Buddhist traditions. Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning garland. Japa is a Sanskrit word meaning recitation or repetition. Japa meditation is performed while repeating a mantra, silently or aloud, and counted to 108 using a set of mala beads. This combination of chanting a mantra while counting with mala beads is a powerful way to keep one’s attention focused.
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.
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.
Mala beads are seen in many other cultures and religions but are called different names, such as prayer beads, rosary beads or worry beads. Over two-thirds of the world’s population employ some type of prayer beads as part of their spiritual practice.