Buddhist prayer beads or malas (Sanskrit: mālā "garland") are a traditional used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity. This sādhanā (practice) is known in Sanskrit as japa. Malas are typically made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads.
In Tibetan Buddhism, malas of 108 beads are used. Some practitioners use malas of 21 or 28 beads for doing prostrations. In Tibetan Buddhism, malas are mainly used to count mantras. These mantras can be recited for different purposes linked to working with mind. The material used to make the beads can vary according to the purpose of the mantras used. Some beads can be used for all purposes and all kinds of mantras.