Phrakham are the strings of 108 beads that are used to both count kata and are a form of amulet themselves to bring Metta and banish negative forces, thus providing a dual purpose. Using these beads for counting kata aids Samathi and improves mental faculties, removing stress and bringing calmness.
These come from the temple of Luang Phor Somporn where the tree died a prai death in the temple grounds! For Makham wood this means that it died while standing with no splits in the tree and no obvious damage, it just dies. Added to this, with it being in the grounds of his temple it has absorbed the spiritual resonance of the location and using a tree from this source is both tradtional the best.
Besides being a Phra Kham set of beads, there is also a finial on it (which does not count with the 108, just count the beads) which has a figure of Tao Waet Suwan on it, who is the Guardian of temple gates and all things holy. Under this is a loop to attach an amulet, which has to be Phuttakhun, not prai. So when using the beads you also say the kata the the amulet, which is such a good idea.
The strength of these grow with use because using them to count kata empowers the beads further.
Great Phra Kham beads are an asset to everyone and protect against black magic, negative forces, malicious spirits and ghosts as well as aiding meditation. It was also pointed out that around the base of the figure of Tao Waetsuwan, there is a matrix holding small pieces of Leklai! I hadn't noticed this, and it just adds more to the beads. I also wouldn't worry about that matrix, it looks tough and even if it came off it would not affect the beads.
These are the best beads I can find at this time. They are magnificent quality and a medium size bead.
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Incredible Makham Wood Phrakham 108 Beads from Luang Phor Somporn
There are many forms of these sets of 108 beads that include stone, metal, assemblies of herbs, various forms of wood and even magical forms of iron ore, which can even bring other attributes to the function of counting kata.