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The Monastery door, massive, and ornately carved, spoke of its life as a Sheesham tree in a medieval forest, as it granted egress from the courtyard into the field of grey stones, beyond. It spoke softly of its Dharma as a protector, far above the forests of its birth. Only the mountaintops and sky above. Above the lakes of salt. Where prayers in primary colors danced on the wind.
For millennia, meteorites traveled through space and time carrying harmonic memories of the solar systems of their birth. Screaming them as they slammed through Earth’s atmosphere, these travelers had found the Himalayan plateau safe haven between sky and earth. Over time, they had broken down into the soil. Cleaved from the mountains by ancient foundries, these ores, now as meteorite iron, melted and flowed into metal disks. The consistency and strength of the metal they formed was buffeted and pulled by the force of the planets moving by. Fusing their alien harmonies into the cellular structure of bronze, the disks hardened and were forged into the form of bowls. Between the hammer blows, mantras could be heard. Om Ah Hung. Clang! Om Clang! Ah Hung… Clang!
When played, the bowls’ latent harmonies, borne of other worlds, would again be released.
The bowls were made with love. Some with flouted lips, others triangulated. Some were decorated with sacred geometric patterns incised with precision and care. Dots within circles: as above, below. Concentric circle patterns, radiating out from the center of their basins like a ripples disturbing a glass smooth pond. All vibration goes out infinitely. Our thoughts, our words, infinitely in play once expressed, hurtling out as the Universe chases infinity. Every thought, every word, every action. Infinite consequences. Om Ah Hung. Remind them of peace. Om Ah Hung. Remind them there is death. Om Ah Hung. Remind them we are one.
Now, stowed in gunny sacks of burlap, the bowls made their way through mountain passes, first by yak, and then by diesel lorries with brightly painted grills decorated with Gods. They wound their way down into the lush, terraced landscapes of the Valley, past children working in the fields, goats and dogs meandering across the roads. They found their ways into markets, temples and homes, beginning their secret lives, as singing bowls.