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This is for the japa mala, the Tibetan Buddhist style of prayer beads. This style of making prayer beads can also be used for Hindu Prayer Beads, there are 108 beads on a japa mala.
1. Prayer Beads can be strung on regular string, twine, elastic, or even hemp. It is easier to make a strand of prayer beads on a thicker string, and they also will last longer on a thicker string. Hemp is a great, durable material to use as a strand for prayer beads, while elastic is better for wrist
2. You will need three counting beads. These beads can be smaller beads, about 3mm wide, or they can also be larger beads, or even turquoise or a different material from the beads on the rest of the mala.
3. You will need one large bead, this is commonly called the guru bead.
4. You will need either 107 or 108 beads that will make up the bulk of your mala. These beads can be any size, but no smaller than 5 mm is recommended.
5. The tassel can be a simple knot at the end, or you can also tie an elaborate tassel on the end of the mala. You can even put counting beads on the end of the mala, for multiple rotations.
Make a knot in one end of your string. This is the base for your mala, and all prayer beads will be pushed to the end. Leave a lot of extra string at the bottom of your mala.
Put your largest bead, the guru bead, on the mala first. (for this version, we will use 108 regular beads, 3 counter beads, and 1 guru bead)
String 27 of the regular beads on the mala.
Place one counter bead on the mala.
Put 27 more beads on.
One Counter Bead.
27 regular beads
1 Counter Bead.
27 Regular Beads
Tie the two strings of the mala together.
Tie the tassel onto the end of the mala, and cut off the remaining string.
Tada, you have just made a Tibetan Buddhist prayer beads mala.