Sounding the Lotus Bell

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, December 31 of the Lunar Calendar, Buddhist temples sound the bell for 108 times to symbolize the shattering of the 108 kinds of afflictions that result from our misconceptions through the six sensory consciousnesses developed in the past, present, and future.

On February 15, 2018, Chinese New Year Eve of the year, Dharma Drum Mountain will ring the Lotus Bell for 108 times, concluding at midnight, to bid farewell to the past year and welcome in a peaceful coming year free from troubles.

Inaugurated and officially in use on December 23, 2006, the bronze Lotus Bell weighs 25 tons, stands 4.5 meters tall, and measures 2.64 meters in diameter and 30 cm at its thickest part. The echo of the bell can last as long as 105 sec

The bell was so named because it was cast with the entire text of the Lotus Sutra and the Great Compassion Mantra, totaling 70,152 Chinese characters, along with a relief entitled “Two Buddhas Sitting in the Pagoda of Many Treasures.” Every sounding of the bell signifies spreading the Lotus Sutra and the Great Compassion Mantra; each prostration to and hearing the sound of the bell symbolizes reciting the whole of the sutra and the mantra, thereby creating great merit.

The bell, with its size, weight, form, tone, and the amount of characters cast on it, can qualify itself as a masterpiece work of art. As Master Sheng Yen once said, “The Lotus Bell, cast with the Lotus Sutra, is the largest Buddhist bell in history, for both Taiwan and China. It will become a most treasured Dharma instrument in Chinese Buddhist history, and a legendary artwork that will last through generations.”

A treasure of DDM and a Dharma instrument to be passed down through generations for Buddhism as a whole, the Lotus Bell reflects the wisdom and compassion taught in the Lotus Sutra and radiates brightness and hope for people. Master Sheng Yen installed the bell on the Bell Hill of Dharma Drum Mountain, in hopes of sharing the Dharma embodied in the sutra for the benefit of all beings in the three realms of samsara. It indicates the endeavor of DDM to widely spread the Dharma and serves as a spiritual landmark for all devotees and the future generations.

DDM has held the annual bell-striking ritual on New Year’s Eve since 2007, to wish people peaceful happiness by hearing its toll. On the evening of February 15, 2018, DDM’s Abbot president, Ven. Guo Dong, will sound the Bell together with prominent figures in Taiwan society and give a New Year address, sending out blessings to all.

Text: DDM Editorial Team
Translation: Hsiao, Chen-an (蕭宸安)
Editor: Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠)

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