How to Tie a Buddhist Mala Knot

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How to Tie a Buddhist Mala Knot
Malas are a part of traditional Buddhist practice (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Used by Buddhist monks and modern-day spiritual practitioners to help focus on specific mantras during meditation, malas are made of beads that are looped along a string and tied off by a simple noose-like knot. This knot, commonly called the snake-knot, is easy to learn and can be used in many home crafts. It is an effective way of tying together two string ends in a manner that resists unravelling and looks clean and neat. The snake-knot used in Buddhist malas usually consists of nine double-loop knots, which represents the base number of the 108 beads of the mala itself.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cord or string

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  1. 1

    String the beads.

  2. 2

    Take the cord or strings ends in each hand separately.

  3. 3

    Loop the string in the right hand over and then back under the string in the left hand, creating an eye-like loop that the left-hand string passes through.

  4. 4

    Loop the left-hand string around the right, creating an opposite loop that encompasses the crossed portion of the other loop.The two strings should now form a figure eight.

  5. 5

    Tighten both strings until the figure eight becomes a small, round knot, leaving the left-hand string slightly loose.

  6. 6

    Bring the right-hand string -over and across the left and loop it under the left string. Pass the cord through the loosened knot, under the left-hand string and under itself.

  7. 7

    Tighten the knot. You should now have a knot that has two loops on the left and one on the right.

  8. 8

    Change hands, turning the knot over so that the two loops are now on the right side.

  9. 9

    Loop the knot again from the right to the left passing the left-hand string first over and above the left side then below and under.

  10. 10

    Tighten this knot. You should now have a knot with two loops on each side.

  11. 11

    Continue this looping process, changing hands and turning the knot over each time a new loop is completed until the nine double loops that make up the base of the mala knot are completed.

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