Introduction

  1. Toppage
  2. Introduction
  3. Explanation

The Explanation of Prayer Beads

> The Origin of Prayer Beads > The Spread of Prayer Beads > Dimensions > Materials
> Usage > Benefits of Nenju > How to choose  

The Origin of Prayer Beads

    Prayer beads originated in India where they are said to have been made from seeds and wood by tying together as a tool to help people keep track of how many times they have prayed.

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The Spread of Prayer Beads

    Prayer beads were introduced into Japan with Buddhism and were used by Buddhists of the noble class. Their usage became widespread from the Kamakura era( in 1192 to 1333) onward as commoners begin to carry prayer beads like Buddhist priests. Prayer beads have been used as a tool to worship and they became the current model.

    Recently prayer beads are absolutely necessary things for Japanese people, and are used for not only praying but also as a charm and accessories. They show Japanese aesthetic sense that devised elaborate design with using various materials such as jewels and natural things.

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Dimensions

    The size of prayer beads is still measured in using Shakkanho, an ancient Japanese mesuring system. Basic number of beads is 108, the shows the number of human passions we all have.

* Formal Prayer Beads
Women.........8sun (24cm)
Men..............shaku (30cm) ~ shaku 6sun (48cm)
* Simplified Prayer Beads
Women.........8sun 5bu (bead size 6~8mm)
Men..............9sun 5bu (bead size - over10mm)

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Materials

    The size of prayer beads is still measured in using Shakkanho, an ancient Japanese mesuring system. Basic number of beads is 108, the shows the number of human passions we all have.

* Seeds
Seigetsu Linden Tree / Hogan Linden Tree / Ryugan Linden Tree / Kongo Linden Tree / etc.
* Woods
Ume Tree / Mlberry Tree / Red Sandal Wood / Ebony / Bombey Black Wood / Chinaberry Tree / Betel Palm Tree / etc.
* Fragrant Wood
Sandalwood / Aloeswood Tree / etc.
* Natural Stones
Crystal / Agate / Tiger-eye / Chalcedony / Brown Crystal / Amethyst / Lapis Lazuli / Turquoise / etc.
* Others
Coral / Amber / Animal Bones / Pearls / Glass / Plastic / ect.

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Usage

    When praying to Amida Buddha, hang your Nenju(prayer beads) on your left hand and put your hands together.

> Each sect’s way of holding fomal prayer beads.

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Benefits of Nenju

    It is said that nenju is a protective charm against evil spirits and brings happiness, and the following materials are said to have such qualities.

Linden tree
infinitie happiness
Crystal
Billions time happiness
Coral
Hundred times happiness
 
etc.

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How to choose

    We offer general prayer beads (simplfied and formal prayer beads) for any Japanese sect of Buddhism except Nichiren sect. We recommend Nichiren and Jodo sect believers should have formal ones.

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