Tibetan Singing Bowls for Healing and Meditation

Singing bowls and tools ~

Tibetan singing bowls.
Tibetan singing bowls. | Source

What is a singing bowl ?

Tibetan singing bowls have been used for centuries for healing and meditation. They have had an important place and purpose in ancient monasteries and shrines for at least 2000 years and are still used today for ceremonial or religious reasons.

History of the Tibetan singing bowls is not easy to come by. Usage of these marvelous bowls has become very popular in the western world.

A Tibetan singing bowl is actually a bell. It is referred to as a bowl because it is inverted and has a flat bottom. The bowl is usually sat on a small pillow to allow the perfect sound of the bowl to resonate throughout a room. When lightly struck or rubbed around the rim with a mallet that is padded with leather, the bowl produces harmonic sounds.

Singing bowls come in all sizes from seven inches to ones that are quite large. They are also called Himalayan bowls, suzu gongs, or rin gongs.

The sound of a singing bowl is very helpful in inducing a deep state of meditation.


The sounds ~

The pitch of sound depends on the size, weight and thickness of the bowl -- the smaller and thinner the bowl, the higher the pitch. A very large and thicker bowl will have a much lower pitch.

The vibration of a singing bowl produces a fundamental frequency which is the first harmonic or the lowest frequency of the waveform. Usually the vibration also produces two audible overtones. This is much more noticeable in larger bowls.

When listening to the ringing of the bowl, the ear tends to pull the audible tones into one single sensation of sound. The harmonics of the two or three sounds is picked up by the brain as the pitch of the fundamental, which is very conducive for meditation and yoga. In yoga, singing bowls are often used with the chakras to obtain harmony and balance with the body, mind and soul.

The Tantric (Yoga) Chakras ~

The seven chakras of the spiritual body are energy points, called nadiis.

They are channels that the vital force (prana) are able to move through to maintain harmony and balance within our Self

In tantric yoga, and some spiritual beliefs, if one of the chakras is blocked, it has an effect on our whole being - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Singing bowls ~

Tibetan singing bowls.
Tibetan singing bowls. | Source

Seven chakras of the spiritual body ~

Chakra chart.
Chakra chart. | Source

Seven Chakras ~

A set of seven chakra singing bowls are intended to be in tune with the chakras (energy points) of the spiritual body. Each bowl is a different size to produce a resonating sound for each chakra.


The largest bowl, with the deepest sound, is for the root chakra, or Muladhara. The bowls range in size to produce a pitch that matches the corresponding chakra. The higher the chakra is in the spiritual body, the higher the pitch is of the singing bowl.

Chakra names and their attributes

Chakra Name
Symbolism
Location
Spiritually Governs
Deity
Sahasrara
1000 petalled lotus
Crown of head or just above
Karma
Bodhichitta
Ajna
Two petalled lotus
Third Eye
balance of higher and lower self
Ardhanarishvara
Vishuddha
Silver crescent in a white circle
Throat
sense of security
Panchavaktra Shiva
Anahata
Circular flower 12 green petals
Chest
Devotion
Ishana Rudra Shiva
Manipura
Downward triangle ten petals
Stomach
Growth
Braddha Rudra
Swadhisthana
White lotus with crescent moon
Sacrum
Enthusiasm
Brahma
Brief description of chakras based on "The Serpent Power – The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga" by Arthur Avalon

Singing bowls for meditation and healing ~

When singing bowls are used in meditation, they can restore harmony and balance within the physical and spiritual bodies. Sound is a vibration which touches not only our ears, but every cell in our body.

Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine, the Cornell Cancer Prevention Center in New York, uses Tibetan singing bowls in his work with cancer patients. Diane Mandle, Sound Healing expert, has found that singing bowls have profound consequences on illness. (See "The ancient brain entrainment methodology for healing and meditation" in the link below this article.)

Integratron Dome in the Mojave desert ~

Integratron
Integratron | Source

A very interesting building used mainly for the purpose of meditation with singing bowls is the Integratron.

The Integratron is a dome located in the Mojave desert near Landers, California. It was designed by George Van Tassel, aeronauticle engineer and ufologist. He claimed that the site it was built on has powerful geomagnetic energy and could serve as a rejuvenation machine,time machine and contacting space aliens. It is an acoustically perfect structure. Van Tassel died in 1978 before he could conduct any experiments to test his theories.

The Karl sisters, Joanne, Nancy and Patty, purchased the dome in the early 2000s. Their purpose for the building was to provide tours, and conduct meditation sessions with singing bowls. The sisters use crystal bowls made from pure quartz. These produce such a purity of sound that when combined with the perfect acoustics create what the sisters call "alternative healing powers". They refer to a meditation session in the dome as a "sound bath".

Ganden Monastery, Tibetan settlement in Karnataka, India ~

Ganden Monastery
Ganden Monastery | Source

Singing bowls are traditionally used in Tibetan, Hindu or other monasteries to signify times of silent meditation. The bowl sings out for the beginning and then the end of the meditation period. In some monasteries the bowl is struck to signify a specific phrase during a chant. The sound of a bowl may mark the passage of time or a change in activity.

Small singing bowl ~

Singing bowl
Singing bowl | Source

History, usage and traditions ~

The history of traditional singing bowls is shrouded in mystery. In ancient times they were intended for ceremonial use, as a ritual object in the Himalayan region (Tibet and Nepal).

An interview with Lama Lobsang Leshe, conducted by Rain Gray, provides more clarification on the history of singing bowls. The interview transcript and a very interesting introduction can be read at the link provided below.

In Japan, every temple has a singing bowl. It is traditional in Japan to use a singing bowl at funerals and for ancestor worship. All over the world, a singing bowl can be seen on altars and meditation rooms.

Just how far back in history the singing bowls go is not known for certain. Trusted and valid information on the history of these unique instruments is hard to come by. Antigue singing bowls are highly prized by private collectors. The authentic bowls are becoming more scarce as awareness and popularity of them in the western world grows.

~ ~ ~ ~

Meditation for the Root Chakra ~

The antique bowls in the video are in note C, the healing note of the Root Chakra. The bowls are different sizes and resonate from high to low C. The Root Chakra is at the base of the spine. It is the fire energy and the color is clear red.

This video is very relaxing and peaceful. One should listen to it only when in a place where relaxing and being drawn into meditation is appropriate - certainly not when driving.

Meditation, root chakra ~

Note from author ~

Thank you for reading my article. Your opinions are important to me and let me know your interests. This helps me to offer more of your favorite subjects to read about. Your time and interest are very much appreciated. I hope to hear from you in the comments section below.

I write on several different subjects, all evergreen articles. You can read more about me and see more articles I wrote by clicking on my name by the small picture of me at the top right of this page.

Blessings and may you always walk in peace and harmony, softly upon Mother Earth.

Phyllis Doyle Burns, Lantern Carrier
~ ~ ~ ~

© 2014 Phyllis Doyle Burns

More by this Author


Comments 50 comments

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago

Phyllis, this is fascinating .. the video didnt play right away but I got it going.. singing bowls.. hmm .. thanks for the history and how it was used i found it fascinating :)


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hello dear Frank. You are my first visitor to this hub, thank you! Yes, they are fascinating. I almost fell into a deep meditation when listening to the video (or maybe it was a good knock-out sleep, because it relaxed me so much). My biggest wish is to get some singing bowls. Frank, thank you so much for your very kind comment. I always appreciate you and your comments. Whenever you comment, I feel I have succeeded in creating a good hub.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

because you always succeed.. your hubs are well done and well written all around :) Frank


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Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Frank, (((hugs)))


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

A work of art indeed. An amazingly different culture.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Devika. It is an amazing culture, so rich in history and traditions. Thanks for stopping by and reading/commenting.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

How very interesting and info timely. Gotta a blocked chakra from surgery and never considered these singing bowls as an aid. Do you know the mechanics of how the Tibetan monks were able to raise large stones up mountains through sound and vibrations?


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 2 years ago from Southwest England

They are both beautiful to look at and to listen to, I have seen these used before, but didn't know anything much about their use and history. Thanks for a fascinating read.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago

I listened to about 2/3 of the video during break at work, and that was a mistake. I nearly went to sleep, but the high ton brought me back from meditation. I know a couple of people who use these bowls, and one person brought a small one to our meditation group a few times. This is a nice history, Phyllis. Well done.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

Deep knowledge, Phyllis, I'm impressed!

The bowls I have meditated with in a music circle. We can also use them to end or start meditation. Full of resonances and healing qualities. I also joined a circle in Austria when we gave a festival there.

Your man has a calming voice and plays well. Be careful with Chakras, though. The safer way of the spiritual life can seem the harder: sweetness, love, mercy, tolerance, purity, compassion ... slow and steady is the key. Let the Lord open the channels in His own time and hour. Lots of love, my Friend.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

I've both seen and heard the sound produced by these bowls, but never knew what they were used for. Thanks for the providing the interesting history and the facts about their use.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Alastar, so good to hear from you. I hope you get some singing bowls to aid healing in that chakra. There are a lot of videos on singing bowls chakra healing on YouTube -- you may find one to help you. I never heard about how the monks got those stones up mountains. I would like to know more about that. Maybe you can write about it so I can learn about this? That is very interesting. Thank you so much for reading and commenting and stirring my interest in those monks. Take care. Peace and harmony ...


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Imogen. So glad you enjoyed reading about singing bowls. They are a very beautiful sounding aid for relaxation, meditation, and healing. Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

MizBejabbers, I did the same thing. LOL The video is very relaxing and I almost fell asleep, too. I will have to listen to it for meditation sessions only and not when I am working. The way he leads listeners through the session is wonderful. Thank you very much for reading and commenting. Have a wonderful evening.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Greetings, Manatita. Thank you. Yes, the bowls are full of resonances and healing qualities. I will take your advice on the Chakras, for I am not experienced enough to proceed on my own. I will be having surgery on my lower spine on November 11 and would benefit with some Chakra healing and prayers for that, yet will not do it on my own. The surgery will be in the root Chakra area. It will be minor invasive (for spinal stenosis).

Yes, he does have a calming voice and I was very impressed with his playing. Your message is very much resonating with me and I will take it slow and steady. Much love to you, my friend. Thank you again.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Sheila. You are most welcome. The bowls are mysterious and beautiful. I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thank you very much.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

Thanks Phyllis. I wrote as a loving friend, and I am glad that you saw it in this Light. All the illumined Souls I know of the 20th and 21st Century warns of this. Having said this, this chap seems to be doing something gentle and perhaps Reiki can help, too.

We do Epidurals for your kind of problem here in the UK. Surgery is very invasive and always a last resort, but yes, I am aware of the pain.

Back to the Chakras. They are really energy Centres and if opened untimely, can trigger a lot of spiritual energy which are not without their dangers. That is why Spiritual Masters will ask you to work on inner purity first. Some Paths have devotees who deliberately try to open them without preparation.

I will repeat though that the bowl idea seems gentle and soothing. Focus on the Heart, it is the safest Centre and the Commander-in-Chief, so to speak. Let the energy flow in gently and then direct it from there to the spine. Do not force it. Receptivity and gentleness is the key. The cosmic forces may initially feel like power or a great force. Do not be afraid but open to it gently and think of God. Inner purity is essential as you go higher. Hope this helps.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you, Manatita. Your words are very helpful and mean a lot to me. I copied your message and put it in my healing journal. Yes, it does help, dear friend - thank you ever so much. I have lived with the pain for a long time and through my spiritual faith I have positive thoughts about the surgery. I know God will help me with the healing. You are a loving friend.


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Hi Phil, I like the Chakra singing bowls most. I'm glad you featured them.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi word. Glad you like them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

I did not know about this. This is new to me and very interesting. Voted Up, UAI, tweet. I think you have the heart of a teacher.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Aww! Thank you, Patsy, for that very kind compliment. I am glad you find my hub interesting. I love singing bowls. Long before I had ever heard of them, I used to play my crystal wine glasses when washing them by hand. Have you ever done that? When the glasses are really clean and still wet, rub a finger around the rim and they sing. My kids loved to hear that sound. Thanks again for your visit and comment.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi phyllis, this was awesome! lol! I actually had to stop listening to the video because it was so soothing I was nearly asleep! I am bookmarking this and coming back! how fascinating!


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Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Nell. So glad you enjoyed the hub. I listen to the tape often to help me relax - I love it. Thanks for visiting, Nell, I appreciate it.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

This is fascinating. I would love a set of these bowls for my yoga practice and for my singing studio! I am thrilled to hear that they are being used to heal!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

OMGosh! Audrey, yes, you should do that for your yoga and singing. Great idea. I bet it would make a huge difference and really enhance your experience. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Let me know how you proceed with this idea. I am very interested. Thanks again.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

After reading your fascinating hub on the singing bowls I listen to the video. The peace and harmony from the sounds of the bowls in the video was a treat. Thank you.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Nadine. You are most welcome. I am very glad you enjoyed the hub and video. I appreciate your reading and commenting. Thank you.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

I didn't really know much about these. Beautiful and informative hub! Voted up and interesting!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hello Heidi, nice to hear from you. Thank you so much for stopping by to read, for you kind words and vote. Have a great day.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I have been wanting to learn about singing bowls since moving to Idyllwild, California 3 years ago. In our mountain village, these bowls are found in several boutiques. I'm thrilled to find this hub which gives me so much information. I will share this Phyllis and thank you. Audrey


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I found the history of these bowls interesting. I always enjoy hearing about other cultures and their lifestyles. I imagine they would be similar to the art of playing music on water-filled glasses?


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Audrey. You are most welcome. I love to hear from you - you always have interesting things to say about community and life. Your village must be lovely. I do hope you get a singing bowl and try it out. As Manatita lovingly cautioned me, though, do not work with Chakras unless you really know what you are doing or have an expert to work with. If you get a chance to ask him about it, it is interesting. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate the share. Have a great day.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Dianna. Nice to hear from you. I like to study cultures and lifestyles, too. Well ... the playing on water filled glasses does give a similar sound, but the lasing resonance and tone cannot be reached as with singing bowls. The spiritual concept in playing singing bowls is very different and ancient. Thank you for stopping by to read and comment. I appreciate this.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

What an interesting and educational hub! I am embarrassed to admit I learned about the singing bowls on Storage Wars, but you certainly provided me with more background knowledge. This was a treat to read and learn more about another culture.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Mary. As always, it is good to hear from you. I am so glad you liked my hub on singing bowls. Storage Wars - LOL, I will have to check that out. Happy to hear you learned more from my hub about the origins, etc. Thank you so much for reading and voting, I really appreciate it.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

I do love the sound of a singing bowl, but I never knew very much about them. You did a wonderful job with this topic. Very complete with beautiful photos.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Catherine. Thank you for such a nice compliment. I appreciate your visit, reading and commenting.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 2 years ago from Upstate New York

I'm very interested in this. I found the video to be very relaxing, very soothing to the spirit, and I love the sound of these bowls. The history is interesting, what there was of it. The origins of this technique to connect to one's spirit are shrouded in mystery.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Paradise. There is not a whole lot of history on these singing bowls except for what I mentioned in the hub. I would like to find a way to contact the man in the video and interview him on the origins and history. Thanks for reading and commenting.


JanieceTobey profile image

JanieceTobey 2 years ago

Singing bowls are so beautiful!! Every year I'm involved in manning a booth at a health and spirituality festival. One of the other booths always brings singing bowls, so we can them being played throughout the weekend long festival.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi Janiece. That sounds like a fun and beneficial festival. Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

Peace and blessings.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you. Peace and blessings to you also, poetryman.


newbizmau profile image

newbizmau 2 years ago from Mobile, AL

Love and light to this Hub! So awesome. A great subject we should all be talking about. Its time to heal and remember the wisdom that has been handed down to us.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Thank you so much, Maurice, for the love and light. We all need more of that for sure. This hub is very special for me. I listen to the videos often - the man in the video is so good. I do not know his name. He has other videos on YouTube and they are all very relaxing - they help me to meditate. Some day I will get a whole set of Singing Bowls.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Two weeks ago, a friend I visited in Naples, Florida who is into healing made me listen to her Tibetan bowl and as she played it, something deep in me resonated to the sound. It was quite an experience.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 22 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Hi aesta1. Yes, it really is quite an experience that one feels deeply. Thanks for reading and commenting.


J - R - Fr13m9n profile image

J - R - Fr13m9n 20 months ago from Morris County, New Jersey

Phyllis this hub is a godsend! My interests concerning religion focus on the Eastern. Meditation and relaxation are important and prominent not only in my life; they are an inspiration in my writing. OOOHHHMMMMMMM! Keep on writing since writing brings out our inner knowledge.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 20 months ago from High desert of Nevada. Author

Greetings, J - R. So glad you appreciate this hub. I do hope you get some Singing Bowls and let them become part of your peace and spirituality. I listen to the tapes on YouTube often. One of these days I will order my Singing Bowls. Thank you so much for reading and commenting - your kind words lift me up.

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