My first Juzu
So we have a family `Buddhist memorial service` (ほうじ）here on Sunday and I was politely told to go out and buy myself some Juzu.
So I did.
I however have no idea what they are for, or how to use them, so have decided to research, and post my findings here, for any one else who might be interested.
According to wikipedia (my first stop for all unknown things), Juzu (or more formally O-Juzu 数珠) are Buddhist (or Hindu) prayer beads, used to count time while meditating or during prayer. They are similar to rosary beads and some people call them Buddhist rosary.
While praying (with palms touching), one can hold the Juzu (over the left hand and between the closed palms) which helps to protect against evil spirits.
Formal (and VERY expensive) Japanese Juzu have a lot of beads. There are 108 counting beads (children beads), representing the 108 earthy desires. There may also be one or two larger parent beads at the beginning or end, and marker beads after #7 and #21.
More informal (and less expensive) Juzu have less beads, like mine... You can even buy them from the 100yen shop (which I didn`t - don`t worry)!