Sound Lore: Singing Bowls
Tibetan singing bowls are classified as a type of standing bell that produces vibrations and a deep melodious tone when played using a stick or a mallet. The sounds of the singing bowls invoke a sense of deep relaxation and are commonly used for meditation, relaxation, rituals, and alternative healing.
The earliest known incarnation of the singing bowl, appearing in the form of bronze bowls, dates back to China's Shang dynasty over 3500 years ago. They possibly originated from grain scoops of standard capacity. The word, zhong, or grain measure, is used in many ancient texts to refer to a bell. It is believed that the monks from Tibet and its surrounding region used the singing bowls as a means of teaching, gaining absolute concentration during the meditation sessions and captivating spiritual energy.
The making of traditional hand hammered Tibetan singing bowls dates back to 800AD, at the same time Buddhism was introduced to Tibet. This tradition was verbally handed down from generation to generation in India, Nepal, and Tibet.
Each bowl is made by craftsmen who alternate hammering and chanting, infusing the bowl with healing intentions as it’s created. The bowls are usually made of an alloy comprising seven different metals - gold, silver, iron, mercury, tin, copper, and lead, These metals are aligned with the seven heavenly bodies in our solar system and the seven chakras of our body. They are also fine-tuned to the specific notes that affect each chakra. The video below shows how singing bowls are made in Nepal.
Singing bowls have been used for centuries for healing and meditation purposes. It is an instrument that withstood the test of time and still remains a popular alternative healing therapy for its ability to help people relax and restore the vibratory frequencies of the body, mind and spirit.