How to Tie a Decorative Buddhist Mala Knot

Written by gisela chavez
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How to Tie a Decorative Buddhist Mala Knot
Buddhist mala beads are often decorated with an endless knot. (buddah image by Stefan Häuselmann from

Mala beads are traditional Buddhist prayer beads that are used during meditation to enhance mental focus. During meditation, the beads are held and mantras or chants are repeated for each bead. The mala knot, also called an endless knot, is commonly found at the end of the string of beads. The knot represents security, health and safety.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Loop the cord at the end of the string of mala beads to form a cross shape with four tips. The two open ends of the cord should be closest to you, which will be tip 1. Tip 2 is the right side of the cross shape, tip 3 is in the centre and tip 4 is to the left of tip 1.

  2. 2

    Hold the centre of the cross with your fingers as you move tip 1 over tip 2. Place tip 1 next to tip 3. The two open ends of the cord should now be facing opposite you to the right of tip 3.

  3. 3

    Move tip 2 over 1 and 3 and place it directly above tip 4.

  4. 4

    Bend tip 3 over tips 2 and 4 so it is now pointing towards you.

  5. 5

    Loop tip 4 over tip 3 and under the cords of tip 1. Tip 4 should now be where tip 2 was in step 1.

  6. 6

    Pull all ends tightly to form the cross shape once again.

  7. 7

    Repeat steps 2 through 6 with the new points of the cross.

  8. 8

    Pull to tighten and make any necessary adjustments to finish the mala knot.

Tips and warnings

  • The endless knot can be used to finish mala beads, necklaces and bracelets.
  • In Hindu tradition, mala beads are held with the right hand and the thumb is used to pass from one bead to another.

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