A few weeks ago my mala disintegrated. I tried to make a “half-mala” out of it, but that broke as well. The beads that I could find are now sitting in a little baggie, waiting for some use in the future.
It was at about that time, my wife found some remnants of the red cloth I bought to line the back of my shrine. One of the pieces was a small strip that was just big enough to wrap around my wrist. I decided that the red cloth could be used in place of the mala, at least until I buy another string.
Since then, I’ve found the cloth to work quite well as a form of Nembutsu. I now keep it on the shrine and, after my morning service, I recite a simplified version of the Five-fold Refuge as I wrap it to my wrist.
Throughout the day I do an exercise in which, every time I notice the cloth, I recite the Nembutsu. After a few days, it became a habit and now I find myself reciting the Nembutsu at least a few times an hour. I’ll see how this practice works over the course of a month but it seems like a nice way to support the remembrance of Amida.