Author Topic: Pure Land and Prayer Beads to  (Read 1472 times)

Offline Chaz

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Pure Land and Prayer Beads to
« on: June 04, 2018, 07:11:32 am »
I collect prayer beads.  I have Tibetan and Zen malas, Catholic Rosaries, and Muslim Tisbeh beads.  I'd like to delve into the kind of beads used in Pure Land traditions. 

I'm wondering is any of our Pure Land friends. Use beads in their practice, what kind they use and how.

Offline LetGo

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Re: Pure Land and Prayer Beads to
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2018, 09:49:20 am »
Sorry for the late reply.
I use a Jodo shu style double ringed mala (rokumanben guri nikka). I also use a flexible 108 bead wrist mala (Tendai style).

Offline Lone Cypress

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Re: Pure Land and Prayer Beads to
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2018, 10:43:43 am »
« Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 04:38:45 pm by Lone Cypress »

Offline Skylar

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Re: Pure Land and Prayer Beads to
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2019, 09:23:34 pm »
Hi Chaz,

Like LetGo, I use a double-ringed Nikka Ojuzu (pictured below) with ebony beads, that can be obtained very reasonably from Amazon. (My 1st set, from Japan, finally wore out.)

Here's a quote about the efficacy of fingering the beads whilst chanting from Taming The Mind - A Guide to Pure Land Practice by Ching Wei-an (Translation and Commentary by Dharma Master Suddhisukha at
Buddha Recitation with a Rosary

With this method, the rosary is fingered with each recitation of the Buddha's name. The word "Amitabha" may be recited, rather than the long formula "Namo Amitabha Buddha", as it is very easy to achieve singlemindedness with the shorter expression.

You can finger the rosary upon the first or third syllable of the word "Amitabha", but whichever you decide, you should stick to it and not make mistakes. This is the method of using the rosary to focus the mind.

Commentary. The purpose of fingering the rosary is to achieve singlemindedness - each recitation following the previous one without a single intervening delusive thought. It is as though all the beads are glued together without a single gap.

Moreover, such recitation is a skillful means of reminding beginners who have not yet achieved correct thought to focus on the Buddha's name. Through this method, the indolent can become industrious, the dilatory can redouble their efforts and strive harder. When correct thought is achieved, the Buddha's name does not leave the mind - at that time, whether or not one uses a rosary no longer matters. Therefore, practitioners of limited good roots need this method as an expedient. Otherwise, there is no use buying a rosary and letting it gather dust.

To use the Nikka Ojuzu:
The circle (20 beads with little beads in between) with the metal rings & tassels sits between either your forefinger & middle finger, middle & ring fingers, or your ring finger & little fingers (depends on who you talk to) on the little beads - the larger ones being used to actually count "rounds".  Counting begins on the bead just beyond the Largest bead.

The upper circle (27 beads, 1/4 of 108) sits between the thumb and forefinger.  These beads count each repetition of Nembutsu.  Counting begins on the smaller bead after the Large ("Buddha") Bead.

My Teacher  taught me to take up each bead just as I recite "Amida" - similarly to the quoted instructions above, to "highlight" his name in my perception. (I recite the full Nembutsu, Namu Amida Butsu)

The Largest Bead on the lower circle is also a "Buddha" Bead, and you start counting on the small bead just beyond it.  A "round is finished when the Buddha Bead is reached at the end of the 27 repititions.  At that time, the lower circle is moved so it's resting by the next little bead. (This brings the next larger bead, the one actually counted, into view.)

When you reach the largest bead on the lower circle of 20, you move one of the smaller oblong beads on the tassel.  When all ten of those tassel beads has been moved, you move one of the 6 larger round beads on the other tassel.

There are three helpful videos on using this Ojuzu on the Jodo Shu North America Facebook Homepage at

When all 6 of those beads have been moved, you have chanted 32,400 Nemutsu.  (27x20=540 - 540x10=5400 - 5400x6=32,400) 

BTW, 32,400 = 108x108.

In Jodo Shu, making Vows - including how many Nembutsu you will chant - can be an important part in our (very) little participation in Amida Buddha's unfathomable compassion.  (Caveat, counting Nembutsu is tricky - it can become food for the ego. Conversely, counting can provide (countlesss) opportunities to witness - and work toward alleviating - ego-nourishment.)

Personally, I find counting is simply useful to ensure I have completed my Daily Nembutsu Vow (made in my Teacher's presence).

« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 08:25:36 pm by Skylar »
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Offline Zen44

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Re: Pure Land and Prayer Beads to
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2019, 12:21:18 pm »
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