Jean-Claude Baisse: Tibetan bowls, the power of a vibration

- through Sophie Solere

Published on

Musician, Jean-Claude Baisse roams Nepal and the Himalayan mountains in search of craftsmen who offer the purest singing bowls. He then sells them in his landmark on the Ile de Ré so that their soothing vibrations can enter the lives of Westerners. Meeting with a man passionate about sound.

How did you discover Buddhism?

I discovered Buddhism through my passion for Nepal. While I love and respect this philosophy, I don't practice it. Nevertheless, I feel really happy in Tibetan monasteries. The monks have always welcomed me with open arms. They are benevolent, friendly, without any concern for proselytism or sectarianism.

What is the origin of Tibetan bowls? And how do they serve as a support for meditation?

Originally, they were bowls of soup. When shamans realized that they had a particular vibration, their tradition took hold of it, especially the Bon (a Tibetan religion pre-existing Buddhism) and then it was the turn of Tibetan Buddhism. However, I have not seen any in the monasteries of Nepal, even if they remain a support for meditation for many practitioners.

The Tibetan bowl allows you to fix your attention on the vibrations and thus immediately calm the mind. Tibetan bowls have also entered everyday life: for example, they are used in yoga sessions to start and start a class. Some teachers also use them in classrooms, as they have noticed that they immediately calm students down.

Why did you devote yourself to Tibetan bowls?

I got interested in it because I was a musician. I was very impressed by the emotion that the bowls arouse. So I turned to this instrument for the love of sound and the work of men. Because each bowl requires the collaboration of eight or nine people who hammer the bowls and unite to create an object that will give an emotion. I find it wonderful! The sound of the hand-hammered bowls is unique to each bowl, which is itself polyphonic. The multitude of sounds thus created produces a vibration that resonates in us in a very particular way. I have a very touching story about this.

“The Tibetan bowl allows you to fix your attention on the vibrations and thus immediately calm the mind. »

While I was selling bowls on the Ile de Ré market during the summer holidays, a lady came with her children to question me. I made her listen to the sound of two bowls, without her reacting, but when she heard the third, she burst into tears and sat down on the floor in the middle of her panicked children. This vibration sent her back to something she could not identify herself.

Where does this feeling that several notes are intertwined come from?

This comes from the alloying of several metals (lead, tin, iron, copper, mercury, silver and gold) and hammering. In the tradition, it is said that the metals used are in correspondence with the stars. I'm too Cartesian to delve into this mystery, but I have to admit an astonishing fact: the higher end bowls are called "full moon"; they are hammered only on full moon evenings. The moon is said to have an effect on molecular assembly that makes this sound exceptional. I was very skeptical, but the amazing sound of these bowls is indisputable.

What is your advice when someone wants to choose a singing bowl?

For starters, I advise people to choose a one kilo bowl. With one kilogram there is enough metal to make bass. But emotions start with the bass. The only criterion is to find the sound that resonates with you.

photo of author

Sophie Solere

Sophie Solère is an economic and social journalist who has been interested for years in the environment and interdependence. She works for Buddhist News, a media platform dedicated to Buddhist spirituality and wisdom. By practicing yoga and meditative dance, Sophie discovered the power of spiritual journeys, which offer so many paths to (re)find yourself. She is dedicated to sharing inspiring stories and valuable advice on spiritual practice and the environment with Buddhist News readers.

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