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Fair Trade Products

20

Jun
2017

In Fair Trade Products
HumanKind Vendors

By Jenny

Singing Bowls: An Ancient Buddhist Tradition

On 20, Jun 2017 | In Fair Trade Products, HumanKind Vendors | By Jenny

Do you have any bowls that are not made for eating but instead create beautiful and soothing songs? Tibetan Singing Bowls are unique bowls that are actually a type of standing bell traditionally used in the Buddhist practice as a support for meditation and prayer. Instead of hanging upside down or being attached to a handle, as one typically thinks of a bell, singing bowls are meant to sit with the bottom surface resting on a special cushion or on the floor, though it can also be played while held perched on your fingertips.

Singing bowls sing when the rim of the bowl vibrates. With origins throughout Asia, today singing bowls are used worldwide for a variety of purposes, both within and without their spiritual traditions. Some examples of ways you can use your singing bowl are: for meditation, relaxation, holistic healing, yoga, music therapy, stress reduction, to soothe upset children and babies, for personal well-being, or even as impressive home decor. Each of our singing bowls is hand-tuned by a fair trade artisan in Nepal and thus each bowl has its own unique resonance.

Our current stock of singing bowls include a variety of sizes and decorative embellishments, each with unique sounds and characteristics. The “Bliss” singing bowl, for instance, features a Tibetan double dorje, representing the indestructible diamond-like nature of the Buddha’s teachings. The sacred mantra for compassion, “Om Mani Padme Hum,” or “Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus,” repeats around the rim’s exterior. These details are accented by the handsomely antiqued bronze finish.

wisdom buddha bowl

Our “Wisdom Buddha” and “Tara” singing bowls are both made of a special seven metal alloy, an ancient tradition in which each metal represents a part of the astrological universe. Gold is for the Sun, Silver for the Moon, mercury for Mercury, Copper for Venus, iron for Mars, tin for Jupiter, and lead for Saturn. This alloy produces a powerful harmonic resonance when played. According to our wholesale partner dZi, “being in this sonic bath is conducive to meditation, yoga, massage, and other bodywork.” Of course, it can also be used as an impressive decorative item in any home. Unlike other bowls you may find online, all of our bowls are hand-cast and hand-tuned by fair trade artisans in Nepal, yielding higher quality bowls than those which are machine pressed.

Leigh, one of our volunteers, purchased her own singing bowl from a small shop in Nepal. “When I purchased my bowl,” she said, “he [the shopkeeper] spent a lot of time with me and said it is best to select your bowl based on sound, not looks…He would select three different bowls, and with my eyes closed, he would play each bowl. I would select the sound I like best. He repeated this process 5 or 6 times with 2 new bowls in addition to the one I had previously selected until I had repeatedly selected the same sound. That was my bowl. I went in wanting a small bowl, maybe 3 inches in diameter, but the one I selected is 5-6 inches in diameter!” Like Leigh, when you check out HumanKind’s selection of singing bowls, make sure to play each bowl before deciding which one is your favorite. You might be surprised!

medicine buddha bowl 2
But how do I “play” a singing bowl? Here is a beginner’s guide to making your singing bowl sing:
To make your singing bowl sing, hold it in your hand, perched on your fingertips so as not to dampen the sound, or place it on  its cushion (if it has one), or on a flat surface. Hold the wooden baton like you would a pen, with your thumb on one side and two fingers on the other side. Place the baton on the outer edge of the bowl and hold it perpendicular to the bowl (straight up and down). Begin to run the baton around the outer rim of the bowl, maintaining constant contact between the baton and the bowl to create a harmonious sound without any rattling. Once you get the hang of this you can experiment with going faster or slower and changing the angle at which you hold your baton to create different sounds with your singing bowl.

medicine buddha bowl

In addition to our collection of traditional singing bowls, you will also find a collection of mini two inch chakra singing bowls at HumanKind. With origins as far back as 1500 BCE, the chakra system has had a resurgence and has been the subject of many New Age interpretations. Many people believe that the seven chakras are energy centers aligned with the spine and central nervous system that regulate our health and well-being both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Starting at the base of the spine and ascending in a straight line to the top of the head, the seven chakras are as follows: root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, third eye chakra, and crown chakra. Many use focused meditation and awareness to bring balance to the chakras. Here is a simple meditation guide for using our chakra singing bowls:

Find a quiet place. Set the bowl on its cushion. Take a calming breath and gently strike the edge of the bowl with the wooden baton. Relax, focus on the resonating sound, and bring your awareness to the Chakra symbol. Chant the Chakra mantra and meditate on the affirmation. Rest in this tranquil moment. Repeat as needed!

mini chakra bowls

These fun chakra singing bowls come in cute, colorful boxes made from Himalayan lokta paper–a sustainably harvested, tree-free ecopaper. The color of each box indicates the chakra it is related to, in addition to the design on the top of each box, as each chakra has its own unique symbol. As mentioned above in the meditation guide, each chakra also has its own mantra. Simple descriptions of each chakra are listed below:

Solar Plexus chakra: empowerment, “RAM:” “I Am Empowered,” yellow

Solar Plexus chakra: empowerment, “RAM:” “I Am Empowered,” yellow

Root chakra: grounding, “LAM:” “I Am Grounded and Safe,” red

Root chakra: grounding, “LAM:” “I Am Grounded and Safe,” red

 

Sacral chakra: creativity, “VAM:” “I Express Divine Creativity,” orange

Sacral chakra: creativity, “VAM:” “I Express Divine Creativity,” orange

 

Heart chakra: unconditional love, “YUM:” “I Love Unconditionally,” green

Heart chakra: unconditional love, “YUM:” “I Love Unconditionally,” green

Third Eye chakra: intuition, “SHAM:” “I Open to Divine Insight,” indigo

Third Eye chakra: intuition, “SHAM:” “I Open to Divine Insight,” indigo

Throat chakra: communication, “HUM:” “I Express Highest Truth,” azure blue

Throat chakra: communication, “HUM:” “I Express Highest Truth,” azure blue

 

Crown chakra: connection, “OM:” “I Am One with the Divine,” violet

Crown chakra: connection, “OM:” “I Am One with the Divine,” violet

 

Each meditation bowl is hand-cast and hand-tuned by skilled artisans in Kathmandu, Nepal. By purchasing these singing bowls you are helping improve their lives by providing them with steady income that allows them to support their families, gain access to healthcare, and send their children to school.

 

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