Of all of the world’s religions still practiced today, Buddhism has one of the most varied and interesting histories. With roots dating back over two and a half thousand years , Buddhism stems from the worldly experience of a royal figure living in what is now India. From that relatively central place, the religion spread out over several continents, taking on different forms as it did so. Today, one of the most notable and vital strains of Buddhism is the one known as Zen, which formed from the interaction of Buddhist thought with the ancient culture of Japan.
Zen Buddhism has a number of interesting and distinctive features. One of these is the well-known koan, the short, riddle-like statements that Zen masters are said to have used to provoke students into realizing the goal of enlightenment. Zen also has a tradition of what may seem to outside observers like cruelty, as those masters are said to have often used what today could be taken for untoward violence, or at least excessive zeal, as they taught their students.
Zen also has a markedly and profoundly gentle side, however. This characteristic is perhaps best seen in the existence of Zen Singing Bowls Brand, simple vessels that are prized for their ability to produce the clearest and most beautiful of musical tones. Long used as aids in the meditation that is so central to Zen and many other forms of Buddhism, these Singing Bowls are also often strikingly beautiful. They quite regularly combine the kind of graceful beauty that is often associated with traditional Japanese art with the kind of serenity that so many practitioners of Buddhism identify as an important goal of the religion and lifestyle.
At zensingingbowls.com, for example, an Internet visitor can get a good look at some representative Zen Bowls. In fact, a variety of other, similar bowls reflecting related Buddhist traditions can also be found there, each imbued with some of the distinguishing characteristics of the greater culture it sprang from.
While the bowls that are the product of Zen, for example, show some distinctively Japanese artistry and aesthetics, those that arose from the markedly different Buddhist tradition of Nepal show some correspondingly different influences. The element common to all such bowls is that they reflect the peacefulness of mind that most practitioners of Buddhism aspire to, and that they produce the kind of clear, beautiful tones that might help foster the mental serenity necessary to the attaining of internal silence.