Prayer beads, mala beads, and rosaries are all used in different spiritual practices as a tool to aid in meditation and prayer. However, they differ in their origins, designs, meanings, and the way they are used.
Prayer beads are used in various religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. They typically consist of a string of beads, with each bead representing a specific prayer or intention. Christians use prayer beads called "rosaries," while Muslims use "misbahah" or "tasbih" beads. Hindus use "japa mala" or "rudraksha mala" beads, while Buddhists use "mala" beads.
Mala beads, also known as Buddhist prayer beads or Tibetan prayer beads, are used in Buddhist and Hindu traditions. They typically consist of 108 beads (or a fraction of that number) and are used to count mantras or prayers. In Buddhist practice, they are held in the left hand, while in Hindu practice, they are held in the right hand.
Rosaries are a type of prayer beads used in the Catholic Church. They consist of a string of beads, with each bead representing a specific prayer or intention. Rosaries are typically used to recite a series of prayers, including the Hail Mary and the Our Father, in a specific order.
In summary, while all three types of beads are used for prayer and meditation, they differ in their designs, the number of beads, and the specific religious traditions in which they are used.