Tibetan Wellness Instruments: Ting-Sha or Cymbals

Relax and Meditate Your Way to Wellness with Tingsha and Singing Bowls

What is Tibetan Ting-shag/Ting-sha?

The Tibetan Tingsha, or Ting-Sha, is another exotic sound instrument Tibetans and people from different parts of the world love. It is composed of a pair of small metal alloy cymbals, each one connected at the end of a leather strap or a chain. The Tingsha cymbals are much smaller than the orchestra cymbals, a pair of which are not touched and simply held by each hand of the musician. They are clapped together quite vigorously, unlike the tingshas, which are struck gently.
 Tibetan Ting-shag, The Little Tibet Tibetan Ting-shag- The Little Tibet Tibetan Ting-shag- The Little Tibet

The Tingsha or Tibetan cymbals are used in natural and alternative healing, meditation, and relaxation. As a natural and non-invasive remedy, it can be a stand-alone treatment or part of a strategic health plan. It's for people who prefer natural healing bodies and minds, with no fear of deleterious side effects.

The Tingsha cymbals are generally made of copper metal alloys such as bronze or brass. These metals provide harmonic high-pitch lingering sounds when clapped together. They are used in the Tibetan religion in prayers, rituals, meditation, and healing. Want to dig deeper? Look at some tingsha cymbals with different markings, and plain ones, and a range of subtle colours. 

Let Hear a typical Ting sha sound

What was the purpose of Ting-shag in ancient Time?

Spiritual purposes, including ritual in the Tantric tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, quench evil spirits. The more flat shapes are used for more peaceful sound offerings to the deities, and the more domed shapes are used for wrathful spirits. When the sound of this high pitch striking Ting-Shag accompanied by powerful mantras drew the most inconspicuous spirits out of their hidden places and chased them away or pacified.

How Ting-shag are used in these days?

Nowadays, we can use it for some similar purposes, including.

To purify an environment

    Suppose the surrounding that you dwell on causes unnecessary, unintended negative energy such as arguments, consistent misfortune, illness, lack of motivation and persistent failure needs to be cleansed. We don’t see the aura, but we can feel it every day. Take a Ting-Shag and strike it from four corners of the house three times. At the same time, recite the mantras “Om Hung” or “Om Ah Hum Guru Padma Siddhi Hum”. Visualise your mind eye a dark cloud that engulfs your environment is being drained away and disappeared. This ritual can be done by yourself without any assistance, and it takes less than 5 minutes from your life. Then, the rays of positive energy will shine.

    How to use a Ting-shag in Meditation?

      It can be used in meditation, especially in a group meditation where sounding a Ting-Shag to initiate a session or indicate an end of a session. This high pitch sound reminds your spinner to be straightened and to the inner mind to be awakened.

      How to use Ting-shag in Sound Therapy?

        Ting-Shag’s sound is very distinctive and a perfect tool in the sound therapy situation, where it reminds/switches the therapy recipient’s wandering thoughts into the meditative state of calmness. This allows the mind, body, and soul to be a neutral, willing receptacle.

        Can Ting-shag be used in daily Praying?

          It can be incorporated in daily prayer sessions where chanting is practised in a rhythmic beat.

          Ting-shag as Music Instruments

            Musician uses Tingsha in the music sounds.

            How to play a Ting-shag?

            The striking or tapping method is just like when you strike a match stick on the matchbox. It would be best if you had both hands to make it sound, one part striking the other part downward or outward motion. Never hit on the outer face of the Ting-Shag where there is decoration, always on the inner rims. The two should touch partly, not the whole circumference. A clashing sound appears if the two parts are hitting too hard; it needs to create that instant sound with minimum contacts on each other. Sound will oscillate when they touch simultaneously, depending on the practice leave some gaps between each stroke for the sound waves to absorb in the space.

            How to look after your Ting-Shag?

            Keep it dry as all-metal degenerates with moisture and protect with a cotton cloth between each part to avoid scratching. In terms of spirituality, first, Ting-shag itself has to be cleansed. Hold it over burning incense and repeat “Om Ha Hum” thrice. After that, Ting-shag should never put on the floor or somewhere low places, always keep on higher places like alter. Ensure the Ting-shag’s spiritual energy should be maintained to retain its power.

            What are the decorations or carvings on the Ting-Shag?

            Tibetan singing bowl - The Little Tibet  Tibetan Singing Bowl - the Little Tibet
            The meanings of the symbols, mantras, are murals carried away along the sound waves as it travels from a medium to another when the Ting-shag is stroked. Some have the mantra of Buddha of compassion, “Om Mani Pad Me Hum”, others have Tibetan auspicious symbols. All have deeper meanings but overall are intended for positive and spiritual enhancements. However, make sure Ting-shag or any ritual objects have correct mantra spellings and orientations. Mantras are as powerful as nuclear bombs in spiritual practices. Hence, wrong spelling and wrong recitation has a detrimental effect. 

            The most prominent is the Tibetan eight auspicious symbols.

            Tibetan 8 Auspicious Symbols
            Though there are Tingsha cymbals without engraved or embossed symbols, most bear iconographies such as the ‘mandala’, the 'Om' mantra and the eight auspicious symbols are most often depicted in the tingsha and Tibetan singing bowls.
            The Om Mani Padme Hum, somehow translated as “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus”, is a Tibetan Buddhist mantra. It is chanted in accordance with prayer beads, meditation, and other religious rituals and practices.
             Let’s take a look at the eight auspicious symbols.

            The Parasol

            The Golden Fish

             Parasol, Tibetan Auspicious symbol - The Little Tibet


            Golden Fish - Tibetan Auspicious symbol


            This is a kind of umbrella used to protect yourself from the sun. Thus, it represents protection, royalty, status, and wealth. The parasol symbolizes suffering, evil desires, diseases, obstacles, and other adverse circumstances.

            The two fish swimming in opposite directions epitomize happiness, abundance, and fertility. Fish in the ocean and other natural water systems have complete freedom, which brings about happiness.


            The Treasure Vase:

             The Lotus Flower:

            Tibetan auspicious symbol Treasure vase- The Little Tibet

            Tibetan auspicious symbol Lotus Flower- The Little Tibet

            It is depicted as a bedecked, opulent, classic jar overflowing with jewels. Also known as ‘the vase of inexhaustible treasures,' it stays full regardless of how much is taken from it. Treasure or wealth vases in Tibet are filled with priceless and holy items laid on altars, along with mountain passes buried in the ground or in natural bodies of water. 

            With the scientific name Nelumbo nucifera, this sacred flower in Buddhism and Hinduism symbolizes many things. A few of them are beauty, divinity, fertility, knowledge, purity, and wealth.  



            The Conch Shell

            The Golden Wheel

             White Conch Tibetan auspicious symbol- The Little Tibet

             Wheel of Dharma, Tibetan Auspicious symbols- The Little Tibet

            Power, authority, and sovereignty. These are attributes represented by the conch shell. It is also appropriately called ‘seashell horn’ and ‘shell trumpet’ because of its close resemblance to that musical instruments. A part of the tip’s end is cut away and inserted with a mouthpiece.  

            The mighty blare from the conch shell is thought to prevent natural disasters, drive away evil spirits and deadly creatures. The conch was elevated to symbolize spiritual supremacy and the truth of the dharma.


             In Buddhism, this inspires spiritual renewal, called ‘the wheel of transformation.’ The wheel’s hub represents moral discipline; the rim, concentration aided with meditation; and the eight spokes, insight achieved with a thorough analysis. The eight spokes correspond to Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.





            The Victory Banner

            The Endless Knot

            Victory Banner Tibetan Auspicious Symbol - The Little Tibet


            The banner honours enlightenment in Tibetan Buddhism. It exemplifies the state of higher consciousness that a person reaches when he has understood and mastered his emotions. 


            The Endless Knot - Tibetan auspicious symbol - The Little Tibet

            It embodies the eternal compassion and wisdom of the Buddha. It also represents the concept of ‘dependent origination,’ that all things happen as the result of a cause. 

            Antique Tingsha
            The tingsha has been around for centuries. Hence antique ones are rare and expensive. They’ve been made with love and passion, so most are collectables as well. Since tingsha is really a pair of cymbals, they must have the same sound quality or tone to sound better. 
            With the global thrust on enhancing health and wellness, it’s getting more traction and devotees in many ways. One reason for that is the combination of tingsha and Tibetan singing bowls in meditation, healing, and focusing. Since the sound these instruments produce is pleasant to the ears, it reinforces the healing of the physical body and the mind. The patient relaxes and meditates while being suffused in the aural benefits of the tingsha and singing bowls.
            Tingsha and singing bowls used in tandem
             Photo by Magic Bowls on Unsplash
            Why both, you would ask. Like in an orchestra, different musical instruments are played to create an incredible audience listening experience. So must a healing and wellness protocol. Especially in Tibetan culture, the tingsha and the singing bowls are instruments used in music, meditation, and sound healing. 
            The Tibetan tingsha, or Ting-Sha, is unique in form and function. It is distinctly different from the Indian, Nepali, Chinese, Turkish, or other cymbals. Though still a part of Tibetan religious rituals, its present-day use is a far cry from its ancient tradition. They were sounded as offerings to appease “hungry ghosts.” A “hungry ghost” is among the six states of existence in Buddhism. People who lived a life of greed, envy, and jealousy are believed to be reborn as hungry ghosts.  

            To someone new in Tibetan sound instruments, like the tingsha and Tibetan singing bowls, these objects would grab him in at least two ways. He would be drawn to these instruments’ artistry, aesthetics, and craftsmanship. He wouldn’t fail to notice and express his fascination with them, perhaps considering them as potential art objects to showcase at home.

            Looking closer at the brass or bronze metal finish, it can run the gamut from almost a reflective shine to a matte finish, from pale gold to bright yellow gold colour. There’s also the contrast in surface finish, of textured and plain. You’d conclude these markings are not only decorative but are, in fact, powerful words of a mantra etched or embossed on the metal. 

            That points to the second way one would be impressed with the tingsha and Tibetan singing bowls: their health and wellness advantages through non-invasive, traditional, safe, and relaxing methods. 
            When we stumble across a tingsha or a Tibetan singing bowl in one of our journeys, we would now see it in a different light. They are traditional Tibetan sound instruments that promote health. They are effective for healing, meditation, and relaxation through sound therapy and the Tibetan mantra's powerful invocation. 

            Here are a few Tibetan singing bowls to check out. Hit this link, and then tell us what you think! If you’re already a proud owner of singing bowls but need help to make it sing, here’s a helpful easy-to-follow instruction book


            Tingsha , The Little Tibet



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