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9ways

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Reply with quote  #31 
Joseph, well for one I never used the word ‘secret’ as you implied, but I did use uninitiated. There is a difference there, why talk about aspects of a ceremony to someone who does not know the ceremony? This discussion is not about you or me, but the members and public that are viewing the conversation. I feel I made it very clear in the article and in commentary throughout this thread that their uses are numerous in both secular and non secular ways, no need to keep rehashing this point is there? I also never implied there was a widespread use in rituals, but that some ritual masters prefer a Singing Bowl type over another. As far as being initiated, that only applies if you have completed Ngondro and it’s attached practices, and shown the signs in regards to Phowa; otherwise your just a tourist. I think it’s also fair to say that we agree on most of what has been discussed here, but to lump me into ‘the same basic tune you’ve heard for years’ is not only careless but disrespectful. I actually thought better of you.
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HimalayanBowls

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Reply with quote  #32 
Sorry. I understand you want to support your point of view as a mystical teacher but the facts don't support what you say. You imply that only those who have completed ngondro can know which rituals use singing bowls, which is nonsense. The fact is singing bowls are not ritual implements and not used in ceremonies or practices as you claim. There's no barrier to knowing about singing bowls in any context. In the few instances that singing bowls may be used in a ritual, the teacher, authentic or not, has invented that use. That's a service to the public, initiated and not. The thread is the truth about singing bowls, after all.
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RichG

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Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HimalayanBowls
Sorry. I understand you want to support your point of view as a mystical teacher but the facts don't support what you say. You imply that only those who have completed ngondro can know which rituals use singing bowls, which is nonsense. The fact is singing bowls are not ritual implements and not used in ceremonies or practices as you claim. There's no barrier to knowing about singing bowls in any context. In the few instances that singing bowls may be used in a ritual, the teacher, authentic or not, has invented that use. That's a service to the public, initiated and not. The thread is the truth about singing bowls, after all.

I don't see Mitch's posts as wanting to "support his view as a mystical teacher". 
He's simply speaking from his experience, as I imagine you are.
"Facts" vary based upon personal experience.
As he said: "we agree on most of what has been discussed here". I take that as a positive to be affirmed.
Let's refrain from turning these discussions into personal slights.
Such an approach doesn't encourage open discussion and sharing - which is what
we want to invite and encourage here!
Peace and thank you!

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HimalayanBowls

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Reply with quote  #34 
Apologies. Feel free to delete anything offensive.
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9ways

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Reply with quote  #35 
Why do I feel like I’m dealing with the playground ‘bully’ here. I never made a connection or any form of implication that Ngondro was linked to Singing Bowls, but to whether or not you are recognized within the monastic community as being initiated. I also never claimed they were ritual items, but that they are sometimes used in that fashion by ritual masters. In regards to this last statement, the ritual master I personally witnessed, specifically requested a bowl that we identify as a singing bowl, as his first choice for the receptacle for the ritual he was performing. When I inquired why, he was more interested in a bowl of a certain alloy over another. He showed me an image of a bowl he used at his monastery in Dolpo on his cell phone, which by all it’s features looked like a singing bowl, and when I asked him if it was a singing type bowl he said ‘yes.’ In my article (paragraph 4), I articulated that ‘certain alloys’ were regarded by the Tibetans and Nepalese as having ‘metaphysical potential’. This alloy, is an alloy associated with Singing Bowls, specifically the older antiques, which look and sound much different than the bowls you see today in the marketplace. It is this alloy, not the object, that is deemed important by certain ritual masters and medical Lamas for certain situations. A medical Lama I know quite well and have assisted many times, only uses a Singing Bowl type bowl for massaging soft tissue issues with his medicines, because of the alloy. On other occasions, I have seen him use the sound of a Singing Bowl on bodily injuries, where he touches ever so slightly the rim of the sounding bowl to the trauma. In this case, once again it's the alloy that is important, because he will only use a very old bowl.

Joseph, I’m sure your aware of certain metal bowls used by the Khas people of Nepal. These bowls end up in the marketplace of Kathmandu, and are sold as singing bowls, when in fact they are not used for sound at all. Bhega bowls are also sold as singing bowls in Kathmandu, and they are a type of rice pot. Bowls made by the Kami in and around Gorka, Nepal also make a bowl that is sold as a singing bowl, when there primary use is not sound at all. I believe it would be fair to say, that bowls used for collecting temple donations (alms), cooking rice, used as a bell to summon the faithful, etc. are NEVER indicated as such by people selling them. They, for the purpose of marketing and profit making, are called Tibetan Singing Bowls, linking them to all the falsehoods being bandied about in this thread. The fact that their sound can be appreciated by the masses is one thing we all agree on here, and I feel that some people reading this thread appreciate some of the dialog that falls outside what many find on the internet regarding them.


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9ways

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Reply with quote  #36 
Responding to Steve Sklar's comment regarding the book by Frank Perry: I have most of the books written on Singing Bowls in my library, and find them to be poor at best. Franks' book was at least an attempt to overwrite the crap that has been presented by the earlier writers. Even though I don't necessarily agree with some of Frank's opinions, at least he makes a case, which I respect. His book has valuable information from his years of working with the bowls. He's one of the oldest Singing Bowl players and collectors in the world, and he deserves respect on what he shares, regardless if you agree or not, but he does make you think; and that's important as well. I also want to point out the work that Benjamin Iobst has done. Some of you may be familiar with his CD called "Seven Metals: Singing Bowls of Tibet", but Ben was/is a sound therapist who uses Singing Bowls in his practice. He documented hundreds of case studies in his practice over the years. At one time, we lived very close to one another, so we had opportunities to share stories. He was the first person other than myself at the time, that was documenting session-work. This is over 20 years ago, just to give everyone an idea of the time-line. Coming back to Frank, now that my article on the Bowls has been shared on the Sound Forum in the UK, Frank was right out of the box and into my email. We have traded numerous emails already, very stimulating to say the least. Frank and I share a wide interest on everything Tibetan, and I consider him very insightful and knowledgeable on their culture. He has many issues with many of us in the USA regarding the Singing Bowls and sound healing, and Sound Therapy in general. But he raises many outstanding points, and backs it up. He cuts straight to the chase with his argument, and instead of misreading or misquoting what you have said, he addresses your words precisely, and seeks to know better where your words are coming from. Debating a point with Frank Perry, encompasses many subjects and angles, academic in nature, no name calling whatsoever. He enjoys a spirited conversation, fact checking, and tiny points of information that can add to the entire dialog, rather than dismissing them because of personal opinion. I have attempted to get him to join into this discussion here in the Sound Healing Forum, possibly he will come onboard, maybe not.
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RichG

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Reply with quote  #37 
Mitch,
It would be great to have Frank join the Forum and contribute his views and experience to the discussion.
Frank, if you're reading this, know that your presence and participation here would be welcomed.

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HimalayanBowls

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Reply with quote  #38 
Hi guys, I'm certainly not trying to bully and it's not a matter of opinion. It's a matter of separating fact from fiction. I assure you it's not an attack - it's my attempt to infuse facts into the sea of opinions and beliefs. What I say is not opinion. The facts about the objects are plain to see. It's only a mystery because it's foreign - you have to get very close to it to remove the mystery. So I apologize if my "tone" is off but it's really meant as a contribution. I think it's important to reframe some of these statements, which I found to be misleading. That's my opinion, but the facts about the bowls and their use is not opinion.
I spent years in Asia studying the history, use and manufacturing of singing bowls. It's a specific history. It's not as mysterious as everyone will have you believe.
I traced the history across Asia and studied every culture that influenced singing bowl tradition, even distant ones which were unrelated but involved in the evolution of the bowl making culture. I have done extensive metallurgical testing in 4 labs and with major institutions. There is no mystery to me. The only problem is the delay of my book. With the earthquakes in Nepal and importing more to help them, I haven't had time to finish the book.
I believe this argument started when I pointed out the difference between a major tradition and a local or individual use. An example of a major tradition is every culture around Asia placing singing bowls in the same location on the altar. That's a major tradition - you can see it in many places over many years. Or the use of singing bowls to collect donations in Vietnamese temples - that's a major tradition and one that is a remnant from collection traditions that started very early in monastic Buddhism.
I'm not discounting your examples, I'm simply pointing out that your examples are local, idiosyncratic uses and not necessarily anything to do with singing bowls or their traditions. Those uses and beliefs are perhaps more open to opinion and interpretation. As you said, they choose what type of bowl they want and it's not necessarily for sound. That tells me it's a modern practice - an individual or local creative use. I can use singing bowls to mix pancakes - it doesn't make it part of the real history or larger traditions.
What I have done throughout my research is to look for the cultural trends and larger traditions. That's the real history. I weigh that heavier than the individual, creative uses, which can vary endlessly.
So we have Mitch discussing the many individual, creative uses and I'm discussing the broader singing bowl traditions which are more definable.
Singing bowl history has a continuous thread and real traditions - it's not just a collection of various uses.
It's the same as their use in the west - they can be used in many ways and people really put a lot of faith into what people say. Someone said "chakra" in 2001 and all of sudden it's part of singing bowl tradition. No, not really. It has nothing to do with the long continuous tradition. That doesn't make it bad, but I think the distinction should be made that it's not part of the real tradition. I think it's great singing bowls are used in yoga today, but that's not part of yoga tradition. Likewise people are using singing bowls in churches, classrooms and hospice - there are all kinds of amazing uses. I think they should all be celebrated and supported. However for educational purposes and creating a clear history, I think it's important to distinguish these unique practices from the larger historical traditions.

Absolutely I've warned people for over a decade that rice bowls, chang pots and other vessels are falsely sold as singing bowls. Again these many other kinds of objects fall outside the authentic tradition for making bell metal bronze singing bowls, which leads me to the next fact - from my testing of hundreds of singing bowls, antique and new.

There is no old alloy and new alloy. There's only bronze of brass. All hand hammered singing bowls are made from the same bell metal bronze. Cast and machine finished bowls - the ones with the perfectly round shape - are usually brass.
The alloy in my new genuine hand hammered singing bowls is exactly the same as the antiques - the variations are tiny and there is also very little variation between antiques. Even very different kinds of bowls from different periods are the same metal - it's a very consistently made alloy, just like any specific alloy. Metals have specific melting and evaporation points. Using the same equipment and techniques for centuries, they have maintained the same results.
So I'm not attacking and I'm not offering opinion. Let me be very clear - it's a great skill to choose words carefully. If you have that skill it's easy to skew conversations to your point of view. It's a subtle form of manipulation. I don't do it. Instead I just say everything very bluntly. It's part of my success selling products but not necessarily good for discussion. I don't imply to manipulate. The facts are the facts. Metallurgical testing is conclusive.
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HimalayanBowls

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Reply with quote  #39 
Specific to what Mitch pointed out, so called "lotus bowls" with a dimpled bottom are not antique and are not singing bowls - they're modern cheap rice bowls. My competitors have been making a fortune on these for years - you can buy them for a fraction of the price of singing bowls.
Bowls with a heavy out turned lip - so called "ultabhati" are also not antique and not singing bowls - they are used to cook beer. That's why the outside is often black.
So called "naga bowls" or "stand bowls" are used for altar offerings of food. They're sometimes singing bowls welded to a modern brass stand or they can be modern brass bowls welded to a brass stand.
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Gongtopia

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Reply with quote  #40 
A very spirited discussion here. I appreciate everyone's input, especially because we all come from our own personal lives & experience. Thus, the context of what each of us says will vary. There is no straight right or wrong, because truth is often fluid, where what one learns as 'truth' in one tradition, someone else may learn as 'untruth' in another. Truth can vary, and it is getting at the heart of that variance that makes these discussions so important.

As all of here will probably agree, there is way too much voodoo/woo woo/mystical exaggeration out there when it comes to singing bowls, bells, gongs and ritual type instruments. And as Mitch has pointed out, the growing popularity has exaggerated the myths even more as the poorer people in Asia will say anything to sell their goods and put food on their tables. I can't blame them, but it does perpetuate the myths…

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Lynn

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Reply with quote  #41 
I can't tell you how glad I am to find a discussion group about this! I intend to re-read and digest this thread a little more, but I just want to say that I am about a quarter of the way into the Frank Perry book and I am finding it quite disappointing so far, like the other singing bowl book I read. There's a lot of statements that seem researched and then the next sentence will delve off into some new age quackery that the author may feel is his experience but there's no objective way to substantiate it. So then I find myself questioning the veracity of everything. I really just don't think this is helpful at all. There is a sentence about him having a "panic bowl" used for exorcisms that made me snicker involuntarily, for instance.

I am hoping it gets better. I would have been thrilled with a much shorter volume that only included info based on accessible research and not information gained from an alleged medium.

I just finished the chapter on tingshas and it was so worthless I don't know why it was included. A bunch of pages were wasted describing the symbols etched on the cheap mass marketed ones, even after the author admits that they don't sound good. His main source of material seems to be a book out of print that had horrible reviews that was sold with a terrible set of cheaply made and bad sounding timgsha. The kind of "gift set" book you find in the bargain bin.

Anyway, yeah, I am not overly impressed, apologies to the fans of this book. Can anyone else recommend something I might like better?
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HimalayanBowls

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Reply with quote  #42 
Some things never change. Please note there's a difference between "truth" and "fact." Truth may be variable but facts are facts. I've made my career of the last 15 years uncovering and documenting the facts and realities of singing bowls, their manufacture, history and use. My book will be the first authoritative and practical singing bowl book. I'm sorry it's been terribly delayed. I'm always available to talk. I even have live chat on my website. Few people know about the true function of tingsha. They're specific ritual instruments used only in certain offering ceremonies and by certain sects. Other cymbals are much more common. I have some truly spectacular antique tingsha for sale if anyone is interested. I don't advertise those but I have a few special pair available.
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Reply with quote  #43 
Hi Joseph! Yes, I became aware of the book you're writing from visiting your site - which I did before I even found this forum. I am looking forward to it! Do you have an estimated date for publication yet?

Please excuse my typos in my post above, typing on an iPad stinks.

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9ways

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Reply with quote  #44 
Hi Lynn, Frank Perry's book is quite the behemoth to say the least. I personally know Frank, have spent time at his home in England, and have for years traded ideas and research. To say the least, he is quite the interesting fellow. Much of what Frank talks about is from his own personal experiences, but Frank is a deep philosophical thinker and is well read, and conducts thorough research. The British tend to come from a different perspective than Americans when it comes to metaphysical and spiritual points of view. Frank does have very strong feelings, and we have disagreed on many points over the years. But even when in disagreement on a certain point, the conversation does not turn combative shutting down the discussion. I performed a bit of research for Frank's book, basically fact checking some of his references (not all of them), and offering a second opinion. Much like Robert Hooke performed for Issac Newton, but without the gross antagonism. I think in the end, Frank's book will serve as a means to get to important dialog on the subject of the Himalayan Singing Bowl, and a critical examination of the things that surround them like the chakras, color, etc. As a final point regarding Frank Perry, I have never met anyone with the 'second sight' that he has. His talent for seeing through the veil is quite impressive. As far as his book goes, I feel he tried to cover too many topics, and should have stayed closer to home on the topic itself.

My experience with the singing bowls goes back to a time before there were any shops selling them in Nepal. As the first shops began to open, I saw the parade of westerners that came, and then returned to their home countries with all the 'stories' that made finding the truth about them so difficult. My initial interest in them, came from a research and historical nature, not from wanting to open a business or making a living from selling them. I have spent months living in many of the districts in Nepal, I did my doctoral thesis based on research conducted on field studies in the Himalayas, and over the decades have forged friendships with not only the insiders in the singing bowl trade itself in both India and Nepal; but underwent the same training that monks engage in the monasteries there. The later being for the purpose of becoming an 'insider', and being afforded the privilege that goes with that, which most westerners either don't understand or dismiss as fancy or foolishness. With that said, I think there are different directions that are associated from whether you have a financial interest or an educational interest in the singing bowls when it comes to talking about them. Sure there is a middle ground in that scenario, but not once in this discussion did I try to sell anything, other than information itself, and I think that the same can be said for Frank Perry's book, even though both you and I, have issues with some of the parts of that book.

Just a note about Frank's 'panic' bowl, just to clear up any misunderstanding. Frank is a friend of Dr. Alain Presenser the British Tibetanologist. Alain and I have completely opposing views regarding the Bonpo and other ritualistic practices that he thinks he has observed and the same ones I have participated in. Alain returned from one of his field studies in Tibet with a small collection of singing bowls that he acquired from someone in eastern Tibet who told him they were used in exorcisms and the name he was told basically translated to 'panic'. Frank acquired one of these from Alain. Now I have assisted Tibetan Lamas in what we would call exorcism rituals (many times in fact), and I have never seen them use a 'panic bowl'. However, I do know shamans (2) who use a singing bowl, like the one Frank mentions, for that very purpose. I have personally seen this play out. I actually own 2 of these bowls myself, I have never used them in an exorcism just in case you ask.

The oldest name that I have found for Tingsha is Nagani Bell. The culture that used that name is thousands of years older than Buddhism itself. In a You Tube video posted by Richard Rudis he states that there isn't a ritual or ceremony in Buddhism that is not initiated or closed without the sound of a Tingsha. I find this statement to be an enormous stretch of the imagination. As Joseph has pointed out, they have a specific purpose for specific things and are not some general use instrument. In fact, within the oldest surviving tradition that uses them today, there are certain times they are not played in a calendar year, they are basically put to bed, if that term could be used.

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9ways

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Reply with quote  #45 
** Frank has been in touch, and it may not have been his book I was helping him with. He contacted me around the time he was finishing his book due to concerns he had over the authenticity of the track "Bonpo Chant" on Alain Presencer's LP. Frank asked if my Bonpo contacts and I could help him get to the bottom of this. We did and quite some emails later we could confirm that Frank was right about it being inauthentic."
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