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Ultimate Guide to Buddhist Prayer Beads

 Buddhist Prayer Beads

Buddhist prayer beads provide us with a way to be one with our spiritual side. Also known as mala beads or mala, the Buddhist prayer beads help individuals with meditation and when they recite their mantras. Mala can also be used to promote peace and calm in general, even when not using them in a meditation session.

 The following will offer an in-depth look into Buddhist prayer beads, including how they’re made, why they’re used, and how to use them

How Buddhist Prayer Beads Are Made


Buddhist prayer beads are made from a variety of materials. Traditionally, Malas are made of plant seed or wood and carved into round beads. Mala beads used to be made from rudraksha seed, which is said to be filled with spiritual power and healing attributes. Bodhi seed malas also have specific significance as they represent the ancient fig tree where Buddha gained enlightenment 3,000 years ago.

Malas can also be constructed using gemstones, which give them an added special quality. Gemstones each carry certain features with them and by using or wearing a mala with these features you can gain spiritual energy from these items

The Buddhist prayer beads consist of 108 beads, a guru bead, and a tassel. The 108 beads are the ones that are used during meditation and the guru bead is a head bead where the meditation begins and ends. The tassel is often used for decoration and it can also be diffused with your favorite essential oil for use during meditation. 

Why You Should Use Buddhist Prayer Beads

mala beads

Buddhist prayer beads come in handy for meditation purposes. They provide the user with a way to keep track of breathing techniques and mantras as they go along the mala. 

In addition to using the mala beads for meditation, they can also be worn as an accessory and a way to embrace their energy on a continual basis. Individuals who want to wear the Buddhist prayer beads can do so by wearing them as a necklace or a bracelet wrapped a few times on the wrist of your right hand. It’s recommended to wear your beads for 40 days so they become accustomed to your energy. 

However you choose to wear your Buddhist prayer beads, it’s important they don’t touch the ground, so keep this in mind when taking them off and holding them.  

Using Buddhist Prayer Beads


Now that you know how Buddhist prayer beads are made and why you should use them, the next step is putting these spiritual beads to work for you. When you start using the Buddhist prayer beads, or mala, the first step is learning how to hold it during meditation. Here are two options:

  • Technique #1: Hold the Buddhist prayer beads in your right hand and position it between your ring finger and thumb. Using both of these fingers, rotate each bead as you go through the 108 beads of the mala. 
  • Technique #2: Allow the mala to hang loosely from your middle finger. Take your thumb and rotate the mala as you recite a mantra or take a breath with each bead that you touch.

It’s important to refrain from using your index finger when using your mala. Since the index finger represents ego, it’s best that your ego is left to the side when using mala beads and meditating. 

Once you’ve practiced using your Buddhist prayer beads, you can start using them in your meditation sessions. These beads are helpful with meditations as they enable you to gain focus and help you recite your mantras as well as engage in proper breathing techniques.  

Don’t worry, using Buddhist prayer beads in your meditation sessions is much easier than you might think. Here’s how to put your Buddhist prayer beads to good use in meditation: 

Find a Quiet Place to Meditate

buddhist temple meditation area

When you engage in meditation, the best way to do so is in a quiet location. Meditation is all about finding your focus and inner peace. It’s hard to do when there’s a lot of background noise. So, when you want to start your meditation session, choose a place in your home, a quiet spot in the park, or any other location that allows you to relax your mind and focus on your meditation. 

Position the Mala Beads

hand of meditatiing woman with mala beads

As you prepare to meditate, position your mala beads. Choose one of the techniques above and get ready to use your Buddhist prayer beads in your meditation session. Once you have your beads positioned correctly, and you know which technique you’re going to use, you’re ready to start meditating.

Let the Meditation Begin

woman meditating with mala beads

If you’re new to meditating, don’t worry, it’s easy to learn how to do it and do it right. Start at the first bead after the guru bead on your Buddhist prayer beads. Rotate through each mala bead and with each one take a deep breath in, deep breath out, and then recite a mantra, either silently or quietly out loud. The mantra can be something you feel or want to embrace, such as “I am strong” or anything else you want to express and repeat.

Continue the process with each bead until you reach the final bead before the guru bead. Never continue over the guru bead, as this is your teacher's bead. It’s at this point that you express thanks to your guru or teacher and the meditation session ends. If you’d like to do another meditation session, turn the Buddhist prayer beads around, so you won’t skip over the guru bead and start going through the 108 beads again.   

Types of Buddhist Prayer Beads


There are many different types of Buddhist prayer beads. These lovely mala beads come in various styles, colors, and materials. When you choose your Buddhist prayer beads, you should keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Type of material: Buddhist prayer beads are made of many different materials. You can select from seed beads, gemstones, and other mala bead options.  
  • Color: The color of the mala may be chosen simply for aesthetic purposes while other times you might want to choose a certain color based on what it represents, especially if it’s made of gemstones. Gemstones have specific meanings behind them and you can get the best of both worlds when you choose Buddhist prayer beads made from gemstones. 
  • Tassel or pendant: Many Buddhist prayer beads have tassels or pendants on them. You can choose a mala with a decoration of this type or simply select a set of mala beads that are the beads alone. 
  • Guru bead: The guru bead is also unique in its color and design, so you can choose a mala with a guru bead that best speaks to you.

Buy Buddhist Prayer Beads Today 

If you have yet to own any Buddhist prayer beads, now is the perfect time to purchase them. Whether you use them in your daily meditation practice or simply want the energy that goes along with these items, Buddhist prayer beads are wonderful items to own.

As you review the selection of Buddhist prayer beads, think of how you’ll be using them and the meaning you want to be associated with these mala beads. If you’re hoping to have the power of gemstones in effect along with your Buddhist prayer beads, choose an option that has gemstone beads.  Select the mala that embraces what you are looking to acquire in yourself and through your meditations. Keeping all of this in mind will help you to pick the perfect set of Buddhist prayer beads.