It is common practice in Buddhist religions to offer sound to God along with other offerings such as flowers, fruits, incense, and fire. Tibetan Buddhists offer sound by blowing a trumpet. This trumpet is called a Dungchen or Rag-dung. It is known as a prayer trumpet or prayer horn. In Nepali they call it a Kaa. This instrument is used by Buddhist monks to offer up a “sound offering”.
The tradition of blowing the Dungchen trumpet is used in Tibetan monasteries at the time of Prayer ceremonies and rituals. It is often played in pairs or multiples. The divine sound produced is associated with the pooja ritual of meditation and the prayers are offered for invoking the blessings from the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. The sound of the trumpet is considered as the singing of the elephants.
The trumpet is designed to be telescopic. The length of it when stretched out is thirty-six inches long and only fifteen inches once collapsed. The construction consists of three collapsible sections. Once collapsed the top two sections will rest in the bottom of the larger section.
The mouth end is narrow and made part of copper and part silver. The trumpet starts with a small mouthpiece and arches out and then ends with a wide opening. The mouthpiece has a hole of only 0.5 inches in diameter. In this hole is a separate cup-like mouthpiece that has a hole of 0.2 inches in diameter and is screwed tightly. The cup size itself is two inches in diameter. It is through this cup-like mouthpiece that air is blown for producing the sound. The wide end opening is seven inches in diameter.
On the outside of the trumpet, there are large ring-like trims and the inside is a smooth telescopic, hollow windpipe made of copper. The trims are riveted with a beautiful silver sheet with intricate designs. The trumpet has a very beautiful look with a copper sheen and pink color and silver with white color.
The trumpet is always kept in a horizontal position when being blown. It is played by blowing air into the cup at the narrow end. The opposite end of the trumpet is always in an elevated position above the ground. It may be kept on a wooden stool or plank.
The Dungchen is a very beautiful instrument that gives a wonderful sound during meditation or prayer rituals. As previously stated, it is considered as the singing of the elephants. In Buddhism, the elephant is a symbol of mental strength and therefore makes sense that it would be used for prayer and meditation purposes.
If you are interested in learning how to properly use it or even purchasing one, you can find it at Navadurga Handicrafts and Singing Bowl House. They are located at 1415 Park St., in Alameda, California. If you are not in the area to visit personally, then you can reach them at https://navadurgasingingbowl.com/ and have your merchandise shipped directly to your door.