Yes, the beads are called Mala. They are used to aid mantra meditation mostly, I believe. As you pass each bead, the mantra is repeated. The beads are usually in strings of 108, or a smaller multiple of 108 (54, 27). So it's used sort of like a Catholic rosary, helping you to keep track of how many times you have repeated a mantra.
108 beads is usually a rather long necklace, that you often see monks wearing. smaller number of beads might be in the form of a bracelet instead.
I don't practice this form of meditation, so you might want to research the proper uses and mystical properties of the mala beads, if you're thinking of using them in your own meditation.
Edited by WuXing (12/12/05 08:12 AM)