Tingsha

Synonyms

Buddhism, feng shui, meditation, new age, religious practices, shamanism, sound therapy, spirituality, taa, Tibet, Tibetan bells, Tibetan Buddhism, ting sha, Wicca.

Background

Tingsha are circular, solid, plate-like chimes connected by a piece of leather. Tingsha are used in meditation practices for the distinct, long, non-harmonic ringing sound they produce. In Nepali, tingsha are known as taa; some non-native speakers of Tibetan refer to tingsha as Tibetan bells. A less frequent spelling for this instrument is "ting sha."

Tingsha have their origin in Bön Shamanism, a religion that predated Buddhism in Tibet. Bön significantly influenced the ritualistic and spiritual practices of Tibetan Buddhism, and shares many of the same cultural characteristics and religious instruments. Tingsha are still used by practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism.

The tingsha are popular in other spiritual practices in the contemporary United States, and have been integrated into many alternative and holistic practices with origins outside of Tibet, such as yogic meditation and Wicca. Tingsha are also sometimes sold as decorative ornaments outside of Tibet. There are currently no available high-quality studies evaluating the use of the tingsha for any condition.

Tingsha are circular, solid, plate-like chimes connected by a piece of leather. Tingsha are used in meditation practices for the distinct, long, non-harmonic ringing sound they produce. In Nepali, tingsha are known as taa; some non-native speakers of Tibetan refer to tingsha as Tibetan bells. A less frequent spelling for this instrument is "ting sha."

Tingsha have their origin in Bön Shamanism, a religion that predated Buddhism in Tibet. Bön significantly influenced the ritualistic and spiritual practices of Tibetan Buddhism, and shares many of the same cultural characteristics and religious instruments. Tingsha are still used by practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism.

The tingsha are popular in other spiritual practices in the contemporary United States, and have been integrated into many alternative and holistic practices with origins outside of Tibet, such as yogic meditation and Wicca. Tingsha are also sometimes sold as decorative ornaments outside of Tibet. There are currently no available high-quality studies evaluating the use of the tingsha for any condition.

Technique

In order to produce sound, the tingsha are suspended horizontally at the center of the leather piece that connects them. The cymbals are then struck together. The sound produced by the tingsha is intentionally non-harmonic and dissonant. The sound is said to be so penetrating that a person will immediately notice it.

The tingsha is used to focus awareness in Tibetan Buddhism and other religious practices. It is used to signify the start and end of group meditation. The sound of the tingsha is said to clear the mind in preparation for the concentration necessary to achieve a meditative state. The lifestyle, cultural context, and spiritual beliefs surrounding the use of the tingsha are very different in Tibetan Buddhism and the variety of other religious practices into which they have been incorporated.

Tingsha in Tibetan Buddhism: The tingsha is but one of many ritual objects used in Tibetan Buddhism. Other instruments include the dorje, a handheld object shaped like a dumbbell; the phurpa, a special type of dagger, the drilbu, a type of handbell; butter lamps, and the more familiar prayer wheel and mandala.

In addition to the sounding of the tingsha, meditation in Tibetan Buddhism may include specialized hand signals and the chanting of mantras (religious texts).

Meditation is not considered a spiritual practice unto itself in Tibetan Buddhism. Rather, the meditation and the sounding of the tingsha that accompanies it is one activity in the culture of spiritual practices that also includes specialized dances, ritual chanting, and a variety of medical practices. Some of these religious practices, including some of the political beliefs, which are informed by Tibetan Buddhism, are banned by the government of China, which now governs the area.

Tingsha in other religious practices: Tingsha are popular in the spiritual practice of other non-mainstream religions in the United States. For instance, Wiccans may sound the tingsha to summon a goddess. Some shamanistic practices also use the tingsha to attract a power animal, or ally from the spiritual realm. In Western culture, the properties attributed to the tingsha are sometimes very different than those in Tibetan Buddhism.

The tingsha are sometimes used in sound therapy. The unique resonance of the sound they produce is said to possess healing qualities. In addition, the uniquely stark, even startling sound produced by the tingsha is said to stimulate the receptor cells of the middle ear.

Also used to clear an energy field of a room by sounding at each corner, the tingsha are used by some feng shui practitioners to clear the negative energies left supposedly behind by a previous person or event that was in the room.


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