Posts Tagged ‘Buddhist’

These are also known as Tibetan Singing Bowls, rin gongs, Himalayan bowls or suzug gongs. They are a type of bell that are classified as a standing bell, they sit on their surface to produce their sound, over the hanging variety. They are traditional to Asia and appear to have roots as far back as the bronze age. They are used for meditation, music and relaxation as well has personal well being. They are used by various professionals and have been known to assist with cancer patients and those under care for post traumatic stress disorder. They are also popular in classrooms as they help to keep the attention of the students.

They are historically made in Asia, especially in Nepal, China and Japan. They seem closely related to the decorative bells made along the silk road from the Near East to Western Asia. The best known of more recent times seem to be from the Himalayan region. They are often referred to as Tibetan Singing bowlws but there do not appear to be any found in the region today.

In Tibetan Buddhist practise uses the bowls to signal the beginning and end of the periods of silent meditation. Chinese Buddhists will use the singing bowl to accompany the wooden fish during chanting, striking it when a particular phrase is chanted. In Japan and Vietnam a similar practise is sused, also in Japan they are used in traditional funeral rites and ancestor worship. Every Japanese temple will hold a singing bowl and they are found on altars and in meditation rooms around the world.

The only texts about the singing bowls are modern but a few pieces of art from several centuries do depict them. Singing bowls from aroundĀ theĀ 15th Century have been found in private collections and bronze bells for music have also been located as far back as the 8-10th Century BC. They are played by striking the rim of the bowl with a padded mallet, they can also be played by the friction of rubbing a wood, plastic or leather wrapped mallet. They produce a unique sound and alongside this a physical vibration can be felt.

The singing bowls have a traditional way to be made, they are still one of the most traditionally crafted object made today. The antique bowls are highly collectable and prized because their sounds are so unique. There are a flood of modern ones that are old looking and sold as such but there are not many dedicated experts to the field and so there are a lot of them circulating with wrong information however they are still a wonderful addition to the home regardless of this I am sure. Many of the copper bowls are assured to be the modern ones but there appears to be other bowls that are made from high tin bronze. There is so far no evidence about the claims the singing bowls contain 7 metals.

New bowls come from Nepal, India and China and the best hand made ones still appear to come from Nepal. New ones do not have the same mellow and peaceful sound, they are often louder and will ring for longer. They are made in two processes, the best ones are made by hammering, the modern method is by sand casting before machine lathing. Machine lathing can only be done by brass so many of them are made with brass alloy which do not produce the sound of those made by hand.


Posted: July 20, 2012 in Theology
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

From ignorance, lead me to truth;
From darkness, lead me to light;
From death, lead me to immortality
Om peace, peace, peace

Mantra’s originated in the Vedic tradition of INdia, an essential part of the Hindu tradition and also a customary practise within the Buddhism, Sikh and Jainism religions. The Om Syllable is believed to be the “Sound of the Universe” and in Vedanta mysticism is a mantra in it’s own right.

Hindu tantre also came to see the letters as well as the sounds as divine representatives, the shift towards writing came when Buddhism travelled to China. The Chinese culture prized their written language far more highly then those of the Indian Buddhist Missionaries, and the writing of mantra’s became a spiritual practise in its own right.

The Brahmins had been strict on the correct pronunciation but the Chinese were more concerned with the correct text. This practise of writing the mantra’s was refined further in Japan. The writing in the Siddham script, in which the Sanskrit of many Buddhist Sutras was written, is only really seen in Japan nowadays.

Mantras were originally part of the Vedas, most follow a pattern of two line “shlokas” though they can be found in a single line, or even a word. The most basic being the Om, known as pranava mantra. Om is considered the most fundamental and powerful mantra and is suffixed to all Hindu prayers. Whilst some might invoke individual gods the most fundamental like “Om”, the “Shanti Mantra” and “Gayatri Mantra” all focus on One reality.

In the Hindu Tantrea the universe is sound, creation consists of vibrations and sounds and these ultimately create the world and the purest vibrations are the Var.nas. Each letter becomes a mantra and the language is reflected in this manner, the seed syllable Om represents the underlying unity of reality, which is Brahman.

Here are some of the forms of Mantra, I have taken the list from Wikipedia.
Bhajan: spiritual songs.
Kirtan: repetition of God’s name in songs.
Prayer: a way of communing with God.
Healing mantra
Guru mantra: the first initiation (Diksha) given by the master to the
Bija mantra: a bija mantra represents the essence of a mantra (e.g. Om).

Mantra Japa – the concept of the Vedic sages uses the repetition of mantra. It is repeated in numbers (often multiples of three) with the most popular being 108. Hindu Malas (bead necklaves) would often contain 108 beads for this reason, and also the head beads. The fingers counts each mantra and should the devotee wish to do another 108 they would turn the mala around without crossed the head bead and repeat.