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Living News

Prayer beads are used by many faiths


Prayer beads or cords are common in many religious traditions besides Roman Catholicism. Here's a sampling:

An Anglican or Episcopalian may use a strand of 33 beads, representing the number of years Jesus lived on Earth.

A Baha'i may use 95 beads to count repetitions of Allah'u'Abha, "God all glorious."

A Buddhist may use 108 beads on a mala, one for each earthly desire that a disciple must conquer.

A Hindu may count 108 or fewer beads for the names of God, the elements of the universe or names of the river Ganges.

A Jew may wear a tallit, tallith or tallis, a prayer shawl of natural fiber with fringes, or tzitzit, tied to represent the 613 commandments of God.

A Muslim may use 99 beads, one for each name of Allah, called a subha or tasbih, meaning "to exalt" or "to praise God."

An Orthodox Christian may use chotki, with 33, 50, 100 or 300 beads or knots used in praying the Jesus prayer.

A Zoroastrian may wear a kusti, a cord of 72 fine threads of lamb's wool passed three times around the waist.

-- Adapted from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

©Copyright 2002, The Oregonian (OR, USA)

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