Teachings on the Mala from Guru Rinpoche
A Garland of 108 Roses
The word mala (which is the proper term for the prayer beads used by Buddhists) is Sanskrit, and means "garland" or "roses." It may be no coincidence that the prayer beads used by Roman Catholics and Anglicans, among other religious groups, are called "rosaries." Of course, Buddhism predates Christianity and they are both outranked by the Hindus, who are thought to have originated the form of mala in use by Buddhists. One hundred and eight beads make up the Buddhist Mala. This is a significant number. There are 108 books containing the complete teachings of the Buddha Kanjur, for example.