The Sacredness of 108


Being a spiritual eclectic, I tend to see similarities as opposed to differences in belief systems. One discernible similarity is the use of prayer beads.

According to Wikipedia:

Prayer beads are used by members of various religious traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and the Bahá’í Faith to mark the repetitions of prayers, chants or devotions, such as the rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Catholicism, and dhikr (remembrance of God) in Islam.

I’ve been blessed twice with the gift of prayer beads. First, many years ago, a dear globe-trotting Australian friend gifted me with a set of Tibetan prayer beads made from Bodhi seeds.  More recently, a new but also dear friend gifted me with a different style of prayer beads fashioned from purple-colored wood. What they have in common is, they contain 108 beads.

Why 108? Students of sacred geometry will be familiar with this number.

According to the previously cited blog:

Mathematically and Geometrically:
108 is a Harshad number (1+0+8=9) / 108 is divisible by 9
108 pattern in reduced fibonacci numbers
366 days in sidereal year; 3x6x6 = 108
1 squared plus 2 squared plus 3 squared equals 108
108° degrees on inner angles of a pentagon

Theology and Culture:
108 beads on prayer mala
108 repetitions of a mantra
108 types of meditation
108 paths to God
108 dance forms in Indian traditions
108 time frame in Rosicrucian cycles
108 gopis of Vrindavan in the Gaudiya Vaishnavism
108 defilements in some schools of Buddhism
108 earthly temptations
108 beads on a juzu(prayer beads) worn by Zen priests
108 questions for Buddha in the Lankavatra
108 previous incarnations remembered in modern Gnosticism
108 chances or lifetimes to rid the ego and trancend the materialistic world
108 earthly desires/lies/delusions in Buddhism
108 is maximum number of repetitions in Kriya Yoga
108 Sun Salutations in yoga
108 breaths in a day reaches enlightenment in meditation
108 energy lines or nadis converging to form the heart chakra
108 sacred books in the holy writings of Tibet
108 epistemological doctrines in Hinduism tradition
108 virtues in Jain tradition
108 steps in temples mentioned in the Lankavatara Sutra
108 sins or 108 delusions of the mind in Tibetan Buddhism
108 pressure points in body according to Marma Adi and Ayurveda

Throughout history 108 has always been a highly revered number, coveted by many religions for its practicality in nature and design.

As stated in the beginning, I consider myself a spiritual eclectic. It seems obvious to me there must be some validity to numerous belief systems when they agree on factors like the sacredness of numbers.

I have blogged previously on The Sacredness of Spirals, expressing my fascination with sacred geometry.  Having never had a strong mathematical mind, geometry was one of the least anxiety-inducing of the mathematics for me. Now I find sacred geometry fun and enlightening to explore.


3 thoughts on “The Sacredness of 108

  1. Most interesting. Great writing. Math being the foundation is most appreciated when it draws people together. Thank you for this article.


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