Articles Chanting

108, the magic number?

The arahat, whose asavas are gone, who has been totally emancipated from a 108 craving and who is dissociated from every kind of mental defilement, him naturally do I declare a true Brahmana!

Extracted from the Chronicles of the Buddhas

I read this yesterday and it occured to me that the number 108 correspond to the number of beads on my Mala.

So what is 108 cravings? According to the Theravadian tradition. (I just google and found the following.)

If you have prayer beads (Mala) with 108 beads, it’s a good thing to recall the significance behind those mantra recitation.

Here’s another version

In traditional Buddhist thought, people are said to have 108 afflictions or klesas. There are six senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and consciousness) multiplied by three reactions (positive, negative, or indifference) making 18 “feelings.”

Each of these feelings can be either “attached to pleasure or detached from pleasure” making 36 “passions”, each of which may be manifested in the mind stream as past, present, or future.

which corresponds to:

{sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and consciousness} × {positive, negative, indifferent} × {attached to pleasure, detached from pleasure} × {past, present, future}
= 6×3×2×3 = 108

Wow! That’s what holding us back from Enlightenment!



My Buddhist name is Ratna Jamyang Puntsog. I first encountered Buddhism in this life when I was 12. Formally took ceremonial refuge in the triple gem when I was 19. I believe the different spiritual methods were taught by Buddha to suit various beings who each have their own unique characteristic. The various sects and practices that arose are just a naming convention invented by disciples out of communication necessity. Had read and studied different forms of Buddhism. Volunteered in Buddhist organization. Until it last, I hope to share my views on Buddhism and find like minded practitioners around the world. May we practice Buddha's instruction together and connect through cyber space!

3 comments on “108, the magic number?

  1. Thank you for sharing your link. In there is the ringing of a bell/gong 108 times at the New Year, some of my Kyudo mates and myself have a practice of shooting 108 arrows at the end/start of the year.
    May all being be free form suffering
    (Fuu from the Buddhism course)


    • Thank you for sharing. Do you have to aim at a target when shooting the arrow? What is the meaning behind the arrow?


      • Yes, you have to aim at the target, otherwise no point of having one.
        Arrow meaning: it can have one or or not, whatever you want It is just a thing, a tool.


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