Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Old counters with stylised cloud design.


Old pair of mala counters with vajra (dorje) and bell (drilbu)


Silver counters with turquoise and coral inlay.


Old counters with Vajra


Old counters with a Bell or Drilbu


Old silver counters with Tibetan cloud design


Old counters with Tibetan cloud design


Old counters with vajra


Old counters with vajra

Old counters with coral inlay


Old counters with vajra (front).


Old silver counters with stylised vajra inlaid with red coral.

Counters are primarily used to help keep track of mantra and prayer recitations and are usually strung as a pair. One set will keep track of each hundred recitations, up to 1000. The other set will keep track of each thousand recitations, up to 10,000. Once 10,000 recitations have been achieved a small separate marker is used on the mala. In this way, many millions of mantras can be recorded by a Tibetan Buddhist during the course of one's lifetime. Each of the counter sets should be strung with 11 beads (including the more ornate pendant bead at the bottom). Only the ten smaller beads on each set are used for counting. The pendant bead which hangs at the very bottom is usually a vajra (dorje) or bell (drilbu) but may also include other Vajrayana symbols or stylised Tibetan motifs (see the counters with clouds). Some are plain and others may be inlaid with coral or turquoise. The counter beads are usually made from silver or other types of metal. Old counters are normally strung on leather cord.

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