The Meaning and Function of the Meditation Bell

Mindworks | Mindfulness Meditation Blog | Meditation Knowledge The Meaning and Function of the Meditation Bell
2018-02-27T16:20:56+00:00 By |

From days of yonder, Buddhist monks have used meditation bells in their daily meditations. The bells were used as a meditation focal point, helping the monks to focus their attention on the current moment. The meditation bell sound helped them to develop a sense of peace and calmness. Over time, advanced meditators can learn to meditate for hours.




The Buddhist meditation bell is still used today for a variety of reasons. They include:

  • Indicating the start and finish of your session. You can use a couple of bell strikes to inject a bit of ritual and ceremony into your practice
  • To clear your space. A Zen bell can also be struck in an attempt to create an aura of purity, encouraging you to get deeper into meditation. Others even believe that the meditation bell sound can ward off an assortment of negative energies.
  • As an object of meditation. Same way you concentrate on your breathing technique during sitting meditation, you can use the meditation bell sound as the prime focus of your meditation.

Types of meditation bells

  1. The Tingsha

Also referred to as Tibetan prayer bells, tingshas are popular meditation bells in Tibet. They are made using bell metal and consist of two bells that are stringed together using a special rope. The bells are normally struck together whenever one desires to achieve a sense of calmness. The bells can also be rung to affix your memory to a particular place or moment in time. The bells are compact enough to be transported from your house to your garden or meditation center.

Large Tingshas emit a low-toned sound that sustains for long periods. Smaller Tibetan prayer bells, on the other hand, provide a thin but pure sound. The two tingsha bells vary slightly in tone. When struck, they emit different frequencies that interact interestingly to create calming, semi-hypnotic sounds.

  1. The Buddhist meditation bell

Most versatile meditators are familiar with the Tibetan Bell and Dorje, popularly called the Buddhist meditation bell. It’s the most widely available bell around. This bell produces a typical sharp sound. It can also be stroked in a circular manner around the rim using a smooth wooden stick to create a beautiful tune. Since Buddhist bells are often hand-made, some imperfections occur during construction. This results in a meditation bell sound that is sometimes inharmonic. Some individuals find this inorganic sound too “off-key” for their taste. However, traditionalists love this sound.

Modern Vs ancient meditation bells

You might be wondering which is better between a modern Buddhist meditation bell and a traditional one. Let’s take a look at each of them:

  1. Modern Meditation Bells

Although Tingshas and Tibetan bells are preferred for traditional meditation, modern bells offer something special that older bells do not. For instance, they emit a purer sound that bears a pleasing harmonic structure compared to older versions. Modern bells also have no imperfections in their construction and bear a balanced weight. This allows them to produce a sweeter tone for longer periods. Overall, modern meditation bells vary in weight, pitch and construction. When picking the right meditation bell for you, let your ears be the judge.

  1. Ancient Meditation Bells

Original ancient bells were constructed by skilled Tibetan craftsmen who had an eye for finesse and precision. However, some recent versions are just poor imitations of the originals. Many so-called ancient bells are usually brand new. They are just constructed to look old. They produce a clunky meditation bell sound that bears a minuscule sustain. It’s unlikely that you’ll get that satisfying sound that you would expect from a stunningly ringing bell.

What’s your verdict? I’ll let you choose your pick. You might probably prefer the modern meditation bell because of its exquisite sound and longer sustain which fits perfectly in today’s practice. But if traditional is your style, you will love the ancient bell.

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About the Author:

Mindworks Team
Mindworks provides essential and extensive training in meditation practice and life coaching. Our international team of meditation experts is comprised of highly accomplished meditators, scholars, psychologists, and professionals dedicated to helping people create lasting positive change.