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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 for.

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.Rain with two antique Tibetan singing bowls

Rain Gray
Santa Monica, California
September, 1989




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Copyright © 1989 Randall E. Gray.  All Rights Reserved.