Tibetan Singing Bowls For Sound Meditation: Bodhisattva Guide

Tibetan Singing Bowls produce sounds you can meditate on to open chakras and heal your mind and body.

And even if you don’t want to learn how to play a Tibetan Singing Bowl yourself, you can still listen to Tibetan Singing Bowl music to meditate on.

in this guide I’ll share absolutely everything you need to know about Tibetan singing bowls.

 


Tibetan Singing Bowls Guide–Introduction

A collection of Tibeta singing bowls being used for massage therapy

There are so many reasons why you should make singing bowls a part of your meditation practice.

Did you know that your brain actually changes when you listen to a singing bowl?

How about this fact:

Buddhists have been meditating on the sound of Tibetan singing bowls for 3000 years. And, at health spas Tibetan Singing Bowls are actually used for sound massage. They put the bowl on your skin and the vibrations from the bowl heal the body. Seriously, these bowls are a complete mind-body healing system.

I’ve personally been using Tibetan Singing Bowls for around ten years now. I find they make a great addition to my meditation practice, and they also look beautiful sitting on a table-top as a decorative-piece. I simply love to meditate on the sound of the bowls.  (I’ve shared a guide to buying a Tibetan Singing Bowl below if you want to get one for your home).

Whether you want to know how to use a Tibetan Singing Bowl for meditation, or you just want to listen to recordings, I’ll cover everything you need to know in this buying guide.

And I’ll share some great Tibetan Singing Bowl music for meditation.

I am here to answer your questions, too-write a comment at the bottom. And if you enjoy this article, please share it on Facebook / Twitter so I know to create more content like this.

Let’s get started.

 

What are Tibetan Singing Bowls

 Did you know: Tibetan Singing Bowls have been around for 5000 years? #spirit #meditating Click To Tweet

Tibetan Singing Bowls are definitely one of the best meditation tools).

Before you buy a Tibetan Singing Bowl or meditate on one, it’s good to know a little about them.

Tibetan Singing Bowls are bowl-shaped musical instruments used in Buddhism and in meditation. They are actually a type of standing bell. But instead of being inverted they are held in the hand.

If you ever visit a Buddhist temple you will likely see some antique singing bowls among the relics.

I recently visited our local Buddhist temple and was delighted by a whole shelf of the most beautiful singing bowls (along with wooden fish, Buddhist cymbals, bells and Dorje).

Attached to the cabinet was a little leaflet introducing singing bowls and explaining what they are and how they are used.

Instruments used in meditation and in some Buddhist ceremonies, Tibetan Singing Bowls are played by running a mallet around the inside base of the bowl. This produces a relaxing, whistling sound that we meditate on.

Interesting fact:

Many people believe that Tibetan Singing Bowls are made of seven metals that are astrologically related to stars and planets: Gold (sun) Silver (Moon), Copper (Venus), Iron (Mars), Tin (Jupiter), Mercury/Quicksilver (Mercury) and Lead (Saturn) (1). But actually, Tibetan Singing Bowls are usually made from a bronze alloy of copper and tin. There are also expensive crystal singing bowls made of quarts. 

The History of Tibetan Singing Bowls

Some antique singing bowls are up to 5000 years old, meaning they predate almost all other tools used in meditation.

Bronze bells, similar to Singing Bowls, have been used since the 10th Century BC. Tibetan Singing Bowls have existed since around 5000 years ago. (1)

Many people believe that Tibetan Singing Bowls are Buddhist in origin, but they actually predate Buddhism. It wasn’t until about 2500 years ago that Buddhists began to play Tibetan Singing Bowls. The monks found the sound the bowls made to be very relaxing. It is a healing sound. And that is why Buddhist monks have meditated on the sounds ever since.   (2).  

Most of the meditation tools we have today are relatively new. Tibetan Singing Bowls, on the other hand, are traditional, and they are one of the most important (and most powerful) of all meditation tools.

 

 


Traditional Tibetan Singing Bowls 

buddhist monk tibetan singing bowl
A Buddhst monk playing Tibetan Singing Bowls

 Traditionally, Buddhist Tibetan Singing Bowls were used in Asia by monks. The monks would use Buddhist singing bowls as an auditory marker to start and stop a period of meditation.

Monks would combine Tibetan Singing Bowls with a percussion instrument called the “wooden fish,” which is struck when a specific phrase is chanted. And this would be done as part of a ritual before and after meditating.

In Japanese and Vietnamese tradition singing bowls are used a little differently. There, they are used to mark the beginning and ending of periods of walking meditation and seated meditation.

It took thousands of years, but Tibetan Singing Bowls gradually became popular in the West, and today they are used in health spas and yoga studios as a way to relax the mind.

The best way to use a Tibetan Singing Bowl, however, is to meditate on it.

Have you ever meditated on a Tibetan Singing Bowl? It is a very relaxing experience. And science proves that there are many benefits to singing-bowl meditation.

Let’s take a look.

 

 

Benefits of Buddhist Singing Bowl Meditations

how to use a tibetan singing bowl
A Buddha statue next to singing bowls

Buddhist singing bowl meditations are deep, relaxing, and therapeutic.

As you will know if you’ve used a singing bowl before, the rim of the bowl vibrates to produce a whistling sound.

That sound is made up of two frequencies: a first harmonic and overtones.

The frequencies of Tibetan Singing Bowls are at ranges that are very beneficial to the brain. There are also undertones that the bowls makes. Together, these sounds produce a chord that is a “flattened fifth”.

Naga Shakthi says, “Singing bowls produce layers of rich additional overtones, which, when heard binaurally, create beat frequency which alters our brain waves from a Beta brainwave state to an Alpha state”.

When you meditate on the sound of a singing bowl you switch your brain to alpha frequency. And alpha frequency is very beneficial (for more on this take a look at my guide to Alpha-brain-wave method ).

Scientific research shows that the flattened-fifth chord the bowl makes is very good for meditation.

The flattened fifth chord that the bowls produce is perfect for spiritual healing and for when you need to  balance your chakras.

As you listen to the frequency of the bowls your brain waves actually synchronise with the sound of the bowl, and at the same time the unique tones produce a deep meditative state. Not only this, but the sonic waves of the singing bowls open your mind, which can lead to spiritual awakening.

I looked for scientific research to prove that Tibetan Singing Bowls have an effect on the brain, but sadly I came up short. It appears there is very little scientific research about singing bowls. The best I could find was a fascinating article by Quartz, which looks at at the physics and experience of Tibetan Singing Bowls and whether they actually work (4).

Clearly, there are lots of reasons to listen to Tibetan Singing Bowl music while meditating.

 

 


Science Of Tibetan Singing Bowls

 Sound is vibration. Vibration touches every part of our physical being. Sound is heard through every cell in our bodies. Click To Tweet 

One scientist determined to uncover the secrets of the bowls is Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, [director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine, Cornell Cancer Prevention Center New York].

Dr. Gaynor tells us, “Sound is vibration. Vibration touches every part of our physical being. Sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies.

“One reason sound heals on a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.”

It turns out, Tibetan Singing Bowls actually relate to mantras–specifically the mantra “Om”.

Sound Healing expert Diane Mandle says, “Tibetan singing bowls are ‘struck and sung’ in specific rhythmic patterns to create vibrational sound harmonics at the frequency of “AUM” or “OM”.

“This sound frequency is the sound of Perfection. It impacts the sympathetic nervous system as your brain waves synchronize to the vibrations of the bowls.

“The harmonic vibrations engage the relaxation reflex and slow down the respiratory, brain and heart rate and disrupt the pain reflex creating a deep sense of well-being,” says Mandle.

This perhaps explains how singing bowls have helped to heal disorders, including cancer.

Speaking about the first time he learned to used a Tibetan singing bowl, Dr. David Simon [medical director, Deepak Chopra Center] says:

“I could feel the vibration physically resonating through my body, touching my core in such a way that I felt in harmony with the universe. I immediately intuited that playing the bowls would change my life and the lives of many of my patients.”

imon has subsequently tested Tibetan Singing Bowls on his patients and states that sound has a powerful capacity for healing even in cancer patients.

 

How Tibetan Singing Bowls Heal Mind And Body

Illnesses can be thought of as a disharmony of the body, an imbalance.

All energy is in a state of vibration, including energy in the body. When that vibration is tampered with the body falls out of sync, resulting in illness.

Meditating on the sound of a Tibetan Singing Bowl restores the body to its natural frequency. And this in turn cures illnesses, both physical and psychological.

You can quite quickly test this for yourself.

Below is a video demonstrating Tibetan Singing Bowls being played.

Listen to the sounds and you will quickly feel your body and mind relaxing, unwinding, and restoring to their natural state.

Some consider the sound of singing bowls to be divine.

Bodhisattva Gwalwa Karmapa says Tibetan Singing Bowls produce the sound of nothingness, the primordial sound, resonating at the same frequency as “Om,” the frequency of creation. This is why early models of Tibetan Singing Bowls have been in use by Shamanistic cultures since as early at 560BC.

Brain-on-music

 

The Difference Between Binaural Beats And Tibetan Singing Bowls

Many readers have asked me if the healing properties of Tibetan Singing Bowls is similar to that of binaural beats.

Though some studies into binaural beats have given positive results, the latest Brainwave Entertainment lacks the history and culture of the Tibetan Singing Bowl.

There is an ethereal quality to the singing bowl that binaural beats lack.

Tibetan Singing Bowls hold a powerful spiritual symbolism and that symbolism can help you to get deeper into the meditation, which creates a more powerful and lasting effect than any audio recording ever will.

Listening to Tibetan Singing Bowl music while meditating is much better than listening to binaural beats.

Because of their spiritual-aspect, Tibetan Singing Bowls also activate certain beliefs.

Countless studies have shown the power of belief and the power of spiritual influence on the mind.

The more the mind believes in the spiritual properties of an object the more effect that object will have on them. By mere virtue of their history and spiritual symbolism, Tibetan Singing Bowls are more powerful than binaural beats and other modern practices. And that is not likely to change.

Plus, Tibetan Singing Bowls are a natural, analogous sound, where more modern sound healing devices are digital. So for my money, you’re never going to see a digital recording that is as good as an actual real-life Tibetan Singing Bowl that you are playing for yourself.

Still, there are similarities between the bowls and binaural beats.

For starters, both produce theta brainwaves. At 4-8Hz our self-healing, intuition, and creativity mechanisms are activated. It’s at this range that you are at your strongest, and that is precisely the range Brainwave Entertainment and Tibetan Singing Bowls put you in. It is also at this frequency that the chakras can be healed.

How Singing Bowls Activate Chakras

One of the most important meditaation techniques is Chakra Dhyana Method.

The Indian healing system believes that chakras, energy centres, pass energy around the body.

Essentially, there are seven chakras in the body (Root chakra, Sacral chakra, Solar Plexus chakra, Heart chakra, Throat chakra, Third Eye chakra, and Crown chakra). When one of these chakras is blocked energy is not channeled through the body correctly. This can cause illness and dysfunction.  

Chakra balancing is used to restore the natural flow of prana / chi / energy around the body, thereby restoring health. This is precisely what happens when you meditate on a Tibetan Singing Bowl. When you meditate on the frequencies of a singing bowl you put your brain in a restorative state that balances the chakras.

We have now looked at the culture, history, and science of Tibetan Singing Bowls. Let’s take a look at how to actually use a Tibetan Singing Bowl for meditation.

 

How To Use A Tibetan Singing Bowl for Meditation 

twitter-icon I’m learning to play a Tibetan Singing Bowl! Checkout this great guide! 

 

 There are lots of different ways that you can play a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

If you are just learning how to use singing bowls, try these techniques.

“Around Rim” Technique

  1. Hold the bowl in your left hand.
  2. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length.  Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  3. Tap the mallet on the bowl’s side to warm the bell.
  4. Using an even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell almost like soup.
  5. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the singing bowl.
  6. Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.
  7. Meditate on the sound for twenty minutes.

 

 Advanced Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation Technique: “Wah Wah” : 

Most singing bowls allow you to use the Wah Wah technique.

Try this:

  1. Hold the bowl in your left hand.
  2. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length.  Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  3. Tap the mallet on the bowl’s side to warm the bell.
  4. Using an even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell almost like soup.
  5. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the singing bowl.
  6. Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.
  7. Pull the mallet away from the bowl while it is still singing.
  8. Hold the bowl up to your top lip one inch away from your mouth.
  9. Now imagine that you’re saying “Wah. Wah. Wah.” Make the mouth shape of this sound while your mouth is an inch from the bowl.  This will change the sound of the bowl.

 

Water Bowl

You can produce a special effect by putting a little water on the bottom of the bowl. This makes the bowl sound like dolphins.

Here’s how:

  1. Put three quarters of an inch of water into the bowl but do not get the rim wet.
  2. Hold the bowl in  your left hand.
  3. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length. Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  4. Tap the mallet on the bowl’s side to warm the bell
  5. Using an even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell almost like soup.
  6. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the singing bowl.
  7. Pull the mallet away
  8. Now tilt the bowl, causing the water inside to lap towards the rim.
  9. Now swirl the bowl. This will create  the sound of dolphins.

Singing Bowl Meditation Technique

To use the bells properly you need to know how to meditate on a singing bowl.

There are different ways to meditate on the sound the bells produce.

  1. This is my favorite technique.
  2. Start by using the Around The Rim technique I explained above
  3. Continue to move the mallet around the rim
  4. Be mindful of the action of moving your wrist and hand to turn the mallet
  5. Take 27 breaths while meditating on the movement
  6. Continuing the mindful movement, start to focus on the sound
  7. Take 27 breaths while meditating on the sound
  8. You should now be meditating on your movement and on the sound
  9. Observe the connection between the movement and the sound. Feel that oneness between movement and sound
  10. Focus on the oneness of sound and movement for 108 breaths

This is my favorite way to meditate on a singing bowl.

 

 

Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation Music For Deep Meditation

This is the type of sound you can produce once you know how to use Tibetan singing bowls.

If you’ve been looking for meditation music, Tibetan Singing Bowl recordings should come first.

Listen to this:

Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation

 

Tibetan Singing Bowl Buying Guide

Okay, now time for a Tibetan Singing Bowl buying-guide.

So by now it should be fairly obvious why you would want to buy a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

How do you buy one?

I’ll offer you some tips so you know that you are buying a high-quality singing bowl.

Tibetan Singing Bowl Buying Guide—Tips

1. For starters, be aware that there are a lot of Tibetan Singing Bowls that look old but are actually new. They’re fake-antiques. Worse, they do not have the right musical tones, history or energy for a singing bowl.

2. If a bowl is being marketed as old it should be at least a hundred years old. Some vintage singing bowls in private collections are thousands of years old.

You can tell if it’s a genuine antique singing bowl by looking for specific markers. For instance, genuine antiques will have markings inside and out, be thinner on the bottom, may have a certificate saying it has been certified as genuine, and will cost from $100 (for a very small bowl) to many thousands for a large one.

Old bowls are made of different materials, too.

The new ones are typically made of a type of bronze called “bell metal”, which is made of copper and tin. Antique bowls are made of high-quality bronze and various other metals, such as gold, silver, meteoric iron (sky-metal) and thogcha.

YoWangDu has written an excellent guide that explain important facts about how singing bowls are made. Read the article here. It answers a lot of questions.

Next thing to consider:

3. What are you going to use the bowl for?

  • Healing?
  • Grounding?
  • Chakra meditation?
  • In yoga classes?
  • What type of meditation will you be doing? Zen? Mindfulness? OM? These are important considerations to make.

 

4. Consider the mallet

Mallets come in different sizes and weights. Some are suede. Some wood. Some felt-covered.

tibetan singing bowl mallets
A mallet to use with Tibetan singing bowls

Mallets vary greatly.

The weight, size and material of the mallet will affect the sound the bowl makes. That’s one reason why you should always try and play the singing bowl before buying it.

 

5. Testing sound quality

It’s very important to test the sound of the bowl by playing it yourself before you buy.

A good bowl will make a rich, resonant sound that lasts for a long time when it is struck. You should be able to hear the overtones it’s producing. If the bowl doesn’t hold its sound it is a badly made bowl. Even economical bowls should hold their sound.

 

6. Does the bowl sound tinny?

That’s another sign of a bad bowl. Don’t buy it.

 

Tibetan Singing Bowl Buying Guide—The Best Bowls

The best Tibetan Singing Bowl has a rich sound with overtones and can be held comfortably in the hand.

Which is the best Tibetan Singing Bowl?

 Ohm Store Tibetan Meditation Yoga Singing Bowl Set (by price)

tibetan singing bowl

For an economical bowl I recommend the Ohm Store Tibetan Meditation Yoga Singing Bowl Set

The frequency of this singing bowl is 552 HZ, D-flat. And it’s been tested with the water technique and does indeed make water ripple and jump.
Made of brass and without seams, which bell produces a good tonal quality. And at the price range it is highly afforable and dmakes for a nice gift.

Of course this is just one bell so it does not activate all chakras.

GET IT ON AMAZON

 

 

Chakra Singing Bowls

chakra singing bowls

For an economical complete set of Chakra singing bowls, I recommend TheMelMart’s 7 Piece set.

These singing bowls are 4 inches, 4.5 inches, 5 inches, 5.5 inches, 6 inches, and 7.5 inches. It comes with a 7-ring cushion and 7-pieces wooden mallet. Plus 1 or 2 drumstick.
This set is handmade in Nepal and comes whosale from Singing-Bowl House, an authentic manufacturer.
Both the look and sound of these bowls is authentic. And they produce a fantastic audio range to open the chakras.

GET IT ON AMAZON

 

 

 

Top of the range: Frosted Chakra Crystal Singing Bowls

crystal singing bowls

If you want the best of the best, you have to go with ca full set of chakra crystal singing bowls.

TopFund’s of quartz crystal singing bowls are the best of the best. They look and sound beautiful. And they are the perfect Tibetan singing bowls for opening chakras.

These bowls are made fom 99.9% pure qurtz and create a deep and resonant sound.

One of the best things about these chakra singing bowls is that you can choose your size. The retailer has option for 8-10 inches up to 8-20 inches.

The set comes with a rubber base to sit the bowl on, and a rubber mallet.

For me, this is the best singing bowl set for healing and chakra activation. It is a stunning to gift to give Buddhists too.

GET IT ON AMAZON

 

 

Tibetan Singing Bowls And The Chakras

Singing bowls are designed to help activate all chakras. This is one thing that makes them different to crystal bowls and tuning forks.

But:

Some singing bowls are better at activating certain chakras than others.

For instance, bowls that produce low tones are good for opening the root chakra, mid tones for the heart chakra, and high tones for the third eye chakra.

That’s one reasons why some people like to buy several different singing bowls: one for each chakra.

If you are working with the chakras, remember to either buy one excellent singing bowl that will open all chakras, or to buy bowls that produce different tones, which can be especially good at opening specific chakras.

 

CONCLUSION

In this guide we’ve covered everything you need to know about Tibetan Singing Bowls. We’ve seen how to use them, and I hope you’ve been able to choose one thanks to my Tibetan Singing Bowls buying guide.

Liked this article? Share it. That way I know to produce more content like this.

Got a question?

Something to add?

I’d love to hear from you.

Write a comment below.

SOURCES

https://www.bodhisattva.com/singing_bowl_history.htm
The Tuning of Tibetan Singing Bowls
Turns out “sound healing” can be actually, well, healing

http://www.soundenergyhealing.com/pages/aboutSoundEnergy.html

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About Paul Martin Harrison 493 Articles
Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book Journey To The Buddha Within You.

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