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Holding Prayer Beads | by designldg
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Holding Prayer Beads

This is a picture of a Tibetan nun hands holding prayer beads.

It was shot during the International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony, under the Bodhi Tree which is behind the Mahabodhi Temple, the place of Gautama Buddha's attainment of nirvana (Enlightenment), in Bodh Gaya (बोधगया), in the Indian state of Bihar.

I was sitting among many Buddhist monks coming from all over the world and a very old nun came at my side holding a mala.


I took many pictures of her fingers with those Buddhist prayer beads which are traditional devotional tools used in Buddhism.

They are similar to other forms of prayer beads and the Rosary used in various world religions; thus this tool has also been known as the Buddhist rosary.

In Tibetan Buddhism, traditionally malas of 108 beads are used.

Some practitioners use malas of 21 or 28 beads for doing prostrations.

Doing one 108-bead mala counts as 100 mantra recitations.


In traditional Buddhist thought, people are said to have 108 afflictions or klesas.

There are 6 senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and consciousness) multiplied by 3 reactions (positive, negative, or indifference) makes 18 "feelings."

Each of these feelings can be either "attached to pleasure or detached from pleasure" making 36 "passions"-- each of which may be manifested in the past, present, or future.

All the combinations of all these things makes a total of 108, which are represented by the beads.

After reciting 100 mantras, 8 extra mantras are done to compensate for any errors.


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Taken on December 7, 2008