From their lofty and magical homeland Tibetan singing bowls have traveled across
the Himalayas, through valleys, and along ancient trade routes. Brought back to the west
by jet-age travelers, these mysterious objects have aroused interest and curiosity about
their origin and traditional usage. Their story, however, has laid hidden like the
mysterious Himalayas, obscured by clouds.
Due to the communist Chinese military
occupation of Tibet in the 1950's, and the subsequent, almost total, destruction of its
monasteries (and 1.2 million Tibetan people, many of them monks and nuns, that perished
during and after that time), the esoteric knowledge of the Tibetan singing bowls has all
but disappeared. And although it has been more than seventeen years since Tibetan singing
bowls and their incredible sounds were first introduced to the western world, little has
been written about them.
This lack of information, along with my own
fascination of Tibetan bells, led to my research while traveling and living in the
Himalayas over the past ten years. However, after eight years of searching, I found that
none of the monks or lay people that I talked to knew much about the Tibetan singing
bowls. Therefore, I turned to my Tibetan brother-in-law, Lama Lobsang Molam, and asked him
for his help.
Lama Lobsang Molam, a Tibetan monk born in
Lhasa, Tibet, was at that time living nearby at a small monastery in Swyambunath, Nepal.
He assured me that he would try his best to find someone who could provide me with
information. After several months of inquiries he arrived at my door one morning with
exciting news. He had found an old monk who had the information which I had been searching
The following transcript is from a recorded
interview with that monk, Lama Lobsang Leshe. The translation and additional comments were
kindly provided by Lama Lobsang Molam. It is my hope that the publication of this
information will answer some of the questions concerning the history and traditional uses
of Tibetan singing bowls.
Santa Monica, California