☆ Mahjong counters are traditionally used to keep track of score in (Japanese) mahjong, just the same as poker chips. Each stick has dots on it that represents the counters value.
☆ The Mahjong counters that appear in Saiyuki are not used for mahjong though. They are instead used by the Arc Villain, Chin Yisou, as weapons. When he first appears in the serious in volume 3 he has them resting between his lips as if they were cigarettes. He used them as throwing projectiles, not unlike Japanese Ninja Shuriken. During one of Sanzo Ikkou's encounters with Chin Yisou he attacks Goku's already injured and broken leg with them, following up with saying, "Offal lot of bark for a mutt that can barely stand up on his own two paws."