Ever Take a Gong Bath? Jump in with Richard Rudis, Sound Therapy Pioneer
Tuesday 15 June 2010, by
Interested in Buddhism? Like the sound of the Himalayan singing bowls and gongs? Then meet Richard Rudis, also known as Karma Sonam Dorje. Rudis has been playing these instruments for twenty-five years. His journey began when he was drafted into Vietnam. This wrathful experience shook him awake, causing him to seek answers in Eastern philosophy. His studies eventually led to Vajrayana, a form of Tibetan Buddhism that emphasizes speed and immediacy in awakening.
While studying in Tibet and Nepal, he discovered the singing bowls and gongs. He immediately was drawn to these instruments and wanted to find out why they had such a profound effect on consciousness and healing. So in 1988, Rudis devoted himself to studying and practicing the Earth Gong. He learned some of its history from a monk but the science was left up to him. As an engineer, he relished the challenge. He discovered that this particular gong had the frequency of AUM (OM), a Buddhist syllable representing the initial impulse of life. It vibrated at 136.1 hertz, the sound signature of the earth as it travels around the sun.
This finding took him into a study of sacred geometry. Sacred geometry is the thumbprint of creation. It refers to a specific ratio that is reflected in every system in the universe, from the growth pattern of leaves to the composition of our bodies to the movement of galaxies. All matter has this ratio—and its own unique vibrational signature. Rudis uses the gongs and bowls, which are made out of seven metals, to access the power of this geometry. When struck, the instruments create harmonics and overtones that help open our minds and stimulate healing. The gong’s fierce sounds, in particular, have the ability to shake out energy blockages so people can awaken to their true Buddha nature.
In the 1990s, Rudis started giving public concerts called “gong baths,” during which participants are “bathed” in transformational sound waves. Concert goers, and clients who have seen him for private sessions, report health benefits like lowered blood pressure, improved vision, elimination of toxins, and cessation of ringing in their ears (tinnitus). One woman even had a growth in her breast disappear.
Rudis says his playing is about empowering people to heal themselves through creating the ground conditions for transformation to occur. The gong helps participants release traumas held in cellular memory and awakens them to an expanded state of consciousness. Giving concerts is his way of providing them with a direct experience of Buddhism—the Dharma and Four Noble Truths—without their having to undergo rigorous study. This makes the teachings more accessible.
He also provides people with a direct experience through offering Buddhist artifacts from Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. When people buy these pieces, he includes a note saying that he is pleased the artifact and person have found each another. Often people who purchase these artifacts receive great blessings. For example, one man who bought a number of artifacts for aesthetic and investment reasons experienced a profound opening of his heart and mind.
Rudis feels fortunate to be able to practice Buddhism and share it with others. Its teachings give him a sense of calmness and purpose, and help him connect to something larger and more fundamental. He encourages people who want to play these instruments to enroll in a training program, like that offered at The Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing School. Here, students learn how to effectively use the bowls to aid healing and transformation.