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Brass Tibetan tingsha bells are small cymbals used in prayer and rituals by Tibetan Buddhist practitioners. Two cymbals are joined together by a leather strap or chain. The cymbals are struck together producing a clear and high pitched tone. Tingsha are used along with singing bowls and other instruments in meditation, music, space clearing and sound healing. While they are commonly found today in musical recordings and yoga classes, their real function is as a religious ritual tool.
Tingsha bells originated in Tibet. They are usually known as Taa in Nepali. The early origins of Tingsha came from the pre-Buddhism religion Bön Shamanism in Tibet. Bön Shamanism has vast spiritualistic and ritualistic influences in Tibetan Buddhism. These influences include the use of the Tingsha bells. They are used to focus awareness and are used to signal the start and the end of group meditations. It is believed that the ring of the cymbals help clear the mind in preparation for long meditative sessions.
A popular and effective use of the Tingsha bells is space clearing. When tapped, the cymbals resonate a unique, identical bell sound that provides a pure cleansing effect. The sound is believed to clear low vibrational negative energy.
Space clearing is done for a variety of reasons including:
Moving to new houses or workspaces. It is believed that the place still carries old, negative energy residues from the previous occupants. In order to start anew, space clearing is necessary to drive away all remaining negative energies.
After experiencing an illness. Clearing spaces after experiencing an illness will help your household/area to feel more refreshed.
Tingsha bells are also used for toning. Toning is a traditional therapeutic technique used to relieve mental stress and achieve healing. The toning process uses the bell sound to release blocks in the body and to promote the natural flow of energy. Toning offers therapeutic effects in the body and can support:
Difficulty in concentration and meditation
Pursue higher levels of awareness
Difficulty in breathing or if breathing appears to be constantly shallow
Lack of confidence, positivity and zest
8 symbols of happiness
The inscription on these Astamangala Tingsha bells shows the 8 Symbols of Happiness, also known as the Auspicious Symbols.
A white parasol
A golden treasure vase
A pair of golden fishes
A victory banner
A white conch shell that spirals towards the right
An endless knot or 'lucky diagram'
A golden wheel
In the Buddhist tradition, the eight auspicious symbols represent the offerings presented to Shakyamuni Buddha upon his attainment of enlightenment. They symbolise the 'Eightfold Noble Path' that leads to the cessation of sufferings and enlightenment. This path consist of:
Correct view or understanding
Correct thought or analysis
Correct concentration or meditative stability
In Sanskrit, these symbols are known as Ashtamangala, and in Tibetan as the Tashi-targey. In the Indian Buddhist tradition they were later deified into a group of eight offering goddesses, known as Astamangala Devi, each of whom carried one of the auspicious symbols as an attribute. The Tingsha are approx 7.5cm in diameter.
Dragon Tingsha Bells
These Tingsha bells are decorated with etched dragons. The dragon embodies strength, goodness and the spirit of change or transformation. Good to use when masculine (yang) energy is required for clearing and balancing. The Tingsha are approx 8cm in diameter.
Om Mane Padme Hum Mantra
Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), Om Mani Padme Hum, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. Viewing the written form of the mantra is said to have the same effect. It is often carved into stones and placed where people can see them. The mantra originated in India. As it moved from India to Tibet, the pronunciation changed because some of the sounds in the Indian Sanskrit language were hard for Tibetans to pronounce. The Tinghsa are approx 7.5cm in diameter.