About Singing Bowls

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Himalayan singing bowls, also known as Tibetan singing bowls, are usually found in various regions across the Himalayas and northern India. It is thought that they made their way into Tibet along with the Buddhist monks, as Buddhism made it’s way from India. However, they were used by the pre  Buddhist Bon tribe of Tibet, primarily used for rituals and ceremonies, later leading it’s way into Buddhist temples. As we know, contemporary western uses of singing bowls have made its way into alternative holistic therapies, such as sound therapy.

Antique bowls consist of multiple harmonics and are hand beaten from a combination of seven metals (although some mention twelve) including meteorite, gold, silver, iron, copper, lead and mercury. Later, bowls generally consisted of five metals removing gold and silver.

A good description of the instrument can be found in “Ocean of Sound” (Toop D. 2004), originally taken from Sound Stories, a collection of written soundscapes by published by sound artist Phill Dadson.

“I’m struck by an unusual sound I can’t place. Cascading pitches of watery,

metallic voices, sort of bird – like: sometimes clear sometimes blurred: close yet distant: golden but earthy: echoing and resonating throughout the temple…” 1

1D Toop, Ocean of Sound, Serpents Tail, London 1995, p.83


An unusual sound indeed. Many describe this “etheral” sound as it sings, like a violin, but with resonant tones which are most enchanting. Its piercing tones can activate some of those chakra points as well as rebalance the mind. The sonic allure of these singing bowls are hypnotic as its unpredictable elements of rich multiple harmonic tones, rich vibrations which reverberate into space, into silence…into the unknown, yet brings us back into the present!
Further practice of delving deeper into observation of the sound has led to a further deepening of oneself, looking inwardly, leaving the ego as well as accepting it. It is an ongoing process of reflection both inwardly and outwardly. As I have developed my practice, the singing bowl has been my ultimate teacher – myself!
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