When you are looking to buy meditation bells for your practice, there are many different kinds for you to choose from. The selection includes meditation gongs, ring gongs, singing bowls, bell and dorjes, or tibetan tingshas. Here is a complete comparison guide to navigating the world of meditation gongs, bowls, and bells so that you can buy the best meditation bell suited to your needs.
Suspended Meditation Gong
This type of gong has been used since ancient times for spiritual and ceremonial practice, as is what most people think of when they hear the word "gong." It looks like a flat, metal disc vertically suspended between two cords. These types of gongs tend to be larger and are suited for areas with wide spaces, like a temple or an outdoor garden. They aren't commonly seen in homes, however, there are some that are table-top sized for convenient personal use.
Singing bowls are a unique type of meditation bell, and confusingly, can also be referred to as meditation gongs. The Japanese rin gong falls under this category. Literally shaped like a bowl and played with a mallet or striker, they are the most capable of producing varied and complex sounds. You can play the bowl either by simply striking it, or by running the mallet around the edge of the bowl, which is what produces the complex harmonics.
Sizes of singing bowls vary, and can range from about a 4-5 inch diameter all the way up to 12+ inches. Keep in mind that the tone of a singing bowl deepens as the size gets larger. Both modern singing bowls and antiques are available on the market, with the antiques being more expensive but generally of higher quality and better sound. This type of meditation bell is perfect for extended use, as you can easily get lost in playing a singing bowl for hours at a time.
Bell and Dorje
A bell and dorje is a classic bell type instrument and is used extensively in Tibetan Buddhism. Traditionally the actual bell is held in the left hand and represents the feminine principle, while the dorje is held in the right hand and represents the masculine principle. The bell and djorje can be used in many ways. Sound the bells to call the presence of Buddha, to clear the mind and dispel stress or tension, as a visualization aid or as a way to request or summon protection. These bells average about 5-8 inches high.
Tingshas consist of two cymbals attached to each other with a leather cord. Like the bell and dorje, they are widely used for ritual purposes in Tibetan Buddhism. They typically produce a clear, high-pitched and long ringing tone. High quality antique tingshas will have both cymbals producing the exact same sound, but due to modern manufacturing, it is more common for the sound of each cymbal in the pair to differ from the other. They are very small, usually about 2-4 inches in diameter, and are great for portability. They go very well in combination with singing bowls as an aid in meditation as well as sound healing.
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