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WHY 108

how many waves
how much forgiveness
let us count together until
we forget the number we are on
is that my suffering or yours
now that it is morning
now that it is noon
and night has come
and we will never finish
loving just this
one, the bead
sufficient to hold


A few interesting notes about 108…

A mala usually has beads for 108 repetitions of a mantra.

Hindu deities have 108 names.

A baseball has 108 stitches.

Shiva Nataraja dances his cosmic dance in 108 poses.

In Hindu Astrology there are 12 Rashis or Zodiacs and 9 Planets or Navagrahas. 12 X 9 = 108. There are 27 Lunar mansions or Nakshatras which are divided in 4 Padas or quarters each. 27 X 4 = 108.

In Homer's Odyssey, the number of suitors coveting Penelope, wife of Odysseus

In Japan, at the end of the year, a bell is chimed 108 times to finish the old year and welcome the new one. Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana. Zen priests wear juzu (a ring of prayer beads) around their wrists, which consists of 108 beads.

Ananda Coomaraswamy holds that the numerology of the decimal numeric system was key to its inception. 108 is therefore founded in Dharmic metaphysical numerology. One for bindu; zero for shunyata and eight for ananta.

The total of all digits of 108 (1+0+8) is 9, which in Hinduism is said to represent the 9 tattvas. If you divide 108 by 2 or multiply by 2 the total of all digits again equals 9, however this is true for any number divisible by 18.

Heart Chakra: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.

There are 108 outlaws in the Chinese classic Water Margin/Outlaws of the Marsh.

Muktinath, the source of all Sila or Shaligram and one of the holiest place of pilgrimage of Hindus, Buddhists, Vaishnava, and Jains, has 108 water springs.

Many Buddhist temples have 108 steps.

108 signifies the wholeness of the divinity, perfect totality.

Chinese astrology and Tao philosophy holds that there are 108 sacred stars.

—excerpted from Wikipedia

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