Singing Bowls originated in China. It is believed that Chinese emperors would use them to find the next heir to the throne. The Chinese called them long tzi, which literally means wind-flowing bowl. Legend has it that the emperor and empress used the bowls to find their betrothed, to determine if they were married to be able to know if the betrothed was legitimate. Today, when you see one of these bowls, you will hear it being struck against a wall.
A bowl is struck by striking it against a wall, hence the name, ‘singing bowls’. However, not all singing bowls are struck against a wall; sometimes they are hung on strings, with the flat part, known as the ‘mallet’ protruding downwards. These bowls are called lings. A hanging bell or resting bell is simply an inverted bell, held from above with the narrow rim above. These bowls normally come in a range of diameters, from some centimeters to about a metre in height. Check out this webpage: http://www.silverskyimports.com to learn more about this subject.
Singing Bowls have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, to help promote relaxation. To promote overall relaxation of the body, a popular remedy used with singing bowls is the ‘bilingual stress relief music’. This is music specifically recorded for use in relieving stress. This music, which is recorded on tape or digitally, induces the right brainwave activities that are conducive to relaxation, such as slowing of the heart rate, breathing exercises, etc.
Sound healing, also known as sound bath therapy, was also widely used in the East, to treat ailments. The ancients had discovered the ability to create a sound barrier, by placing hollow bones together and sealing them with wax. They would then float these bones over a lake or into the air, to create what is called a ‘sea sound’. Sound healers were able to use this technique to reduce the pain caused by arthritic conditions, by inducing relaxation in the muscles and joints. Some of the same techniques can be applied today, by using singing bowls to induce sound waves in our bodies.
Singing bowls and sound meditation go hand in hand, as many bowls have special mandalas or yoga designs etched in them. In ancient times, when there was no advanced technology, the ancients had to find ways to make their mandalas sound like the sounds of the natural world, by using wooden bowls filled with water. This would then allow the person to meditate, as it is possible only with water. However, today there are specially designed singing bowls that incorporate the sounds of the universe and will often contain specially designed water that is made to resonate with its surroundings.
Today, some SSI bowls are called tantra bowls, because they incorporate the chanting rituals associated with Buddhist meditation and prayer. Tantra bowls are used to relax and focus the mind, while inducing sound and vibration in the body. Many people who are beginners in the world of tantra, often use singing bowls when meditating. While still being experimental, they find that the sound of the bowl helps them to tune in to the universal energy of Buddhism.
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