Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The temple bell echoes across the valley

I received the task of listening to the echoes of the temple bell. Difficult when there is no valley here, and no bell either. But I sit down and listen.
Listening, sounds appear, perception is refined. Listening changes as so do echoes: there is the humming of the heating system; or my daughter breathing deeply as she falls asleep; or a passing car out there in the far distance; or the church bell...
What is the source of these sounds?

The listened is seen.
Not with the eyes.

Without warning, not predicting it, another temple bell echoes across the valley: the breathing process. This is not heard, but rather felt. Breathing in and out is the bell echoing; the body is the valley. The echoing is seen moving up and down the valley, in and out, deeper and deeper.

The body is the bell
struck by the breathing
its sound is totally empty

But, what is the source of this sound?
There is only one bell in the temple. It fills the whole universe. It sounds, vibrates and echoes in itself: heating system, breathing in and out, daughter sleeping, body feeling, passing car... all this just echoing across the valley, which is a bell, echoing across the valley, which...

what is the source of this sound?

The emperor stays in palace. 
The general goes beyond the frontiers.

The picture is borrowed from The Boundless Mind Zen website


  1. Lovely post, thank you.


  2. Hi Do Jhana,

    Nice post.

    "What is the source of this sound?"

    We can (and will!) call it thus, but concretely striking a bell already isn't confined to a place, nor is it confined to a 'no-place'.

    The palace stays with the emperor,
    While the general surrenders the frontiers.



  3. Harry,


    thank you for your comment. Now please, without relying on Dogen, Nishijima or Brad Warner, please say something.

    Strike the bell!


  4. You wrote: ", please say something." Something. Was that good? :)

    Bows, my brother in Dharma.

    P.S. My kids are banging my bell!

  5. I didn't ask for something "good"...
    neither "bad"
    In any case, you know something it's not enough.
    Kids banging is closer.

    Bows to you

  6. I think kids banging is everything.

    Bows, my friend.

  7. The kids bang;
    the bell chooses whether to sound.