Traditional Tibetan music features the sungchen (large horn), gyaling (trumpet), silnyen (cymbals), and sometimes the conch (shell).
The Champ Is Here
The hair on our necks often stands up when we hear the gyaling played, because it typically announces the presence of a lama. Like Muhammad Ali hitting the drums and announcing “The Champ is here” in Zaire. But instead of a heavyweight boxer and the beginning of a fight, the gyaling announces the presence of a high lama with the beginning of a teaching on loving kindness and compassion.
You can find some Tibetan music here:
- Gyuto Monks Tantric Choir: Often tour countries. They have albums available online, including iTunes.
- Monks of the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery: They have released albums of traditional Tibetan music. They are available on YouTube and iTunes.
Gyuto Monks Tantric Choir simply sing with no instruments or special effects. The choir recite traditional Tibetan Buddhist prayers and mantras. But the range of sound and the depth of the sound produced by the Gyuto Monks is so unique that George Lucas recorded them at Skywalker Ranch in 1988.
The ‘singing bowls’ or ‘resting bells’ are not traditionally used in Tibetan music or Tibetan Buddhism. They were imported in Tibetan Buddhism more recently in the 1990s and 2000s as part of the ‘new age’ or ‘spiritualism’ movement.
Beating Tinnitus During Meditation
Listening to Tibetan music can be wonderful, either before or after a meditation session. The Gyuto Monks chanting can be inspiring and the Tibetan music can be uplifting to listen to.
Tinnitus is the experience of constant ringing in the ears, like listening to a high pitched engine constantly idling. This experience can be irritating, particularly during quiet activities such as when trying to sleep or during meditation sessions. Rather than listening to tinnitus, meditation sessions could be accompanied with Tibetan music.
Alternatively, meditators with tinnitus could try listening to traditional sitar or hang drum music. You might also try Indian flute music. As long as there are no vocals and the music is not too loud, then it will not be distracting during meditation. We encourage the reader to experiment and see what works for you. Just try searching online for “instrumental music” and your preferred instrument. Here are two that we found: