Tibetan Singing Bowls for Healing and Meditation
Singing bowls and tools ~
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 ~
Seven chakras of the spiritual body ~
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
1000 petalled lotus
Crown of head or just above
Two petalled lotus
balance of higher and lower self
Silver crescent in a white circle
sense of security
Circular flower 12 green petals
Ishana Rudra Shiva
Downward triangle ten petals
White lotus with crescent moon
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 ~
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 ~
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 ~
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.
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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 ~
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Phyllis Doyle Burns, Lantern Carrier
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© 2014 Phyllis Doyle Burns