History of the Temple Bell



The BigTemple Bell Has Arrived

The largest Temple bell in this country arrived at the Center February 14. Weighing over 300 pounds, the bell was sent as a gift from the Vietnamese Buddhists to the American Buddhist community at the IBMC and the College of Oriental Studies.

Ever since founding the Meditation Center and College, Dr. Thien-An has expressed a wish for a big Temple Bell on the grounds. Six months ago he mentioned this to his friend Ven. Dr. Thich Man-Giac, Vice-President of Van Hann University in Saigon. Dr. Man-Giac then made plans to help his friend realize his dream. He appealed to the Buddhist community throughout Vietnam and raised enough money to make the big bell.

Bells have a special significance for Buddhists everywhere. They are rung not only for their beauty of tone. They are used in chanting and special ceremonies throughout the year.

It is the custom in Vietnam whenever a Temple Bell is made to have famous Buddhist Masters, monks and laypeople present. There is a special ceremony on the grounds in front of the Temple to chant and to pray for the sound and success of the bell.

The people present at the ceremony for our bell knew that it was to be sent to their fellow countryman, Dr. Thien-An, in the United States. As the monks were chanting and praying for the success of the bell, so pious and devout women began removing their gold jewelry to throw into the melting brass. Because the brass was mixed with this gold - the sound of this bell will be very special.

This spiritual gift expresses a great sacrifice of the Buddhists of Vietnam, a country which is daily facing immeasurable suffering caused by the war which has continued without ceasing for the past 25 years and which still continues.

We are grateful to the people of Vietnam, who believed in Dr. Thien-An's noble and laudable project of spreading the Buddha Dharma in the West, for our beautiful Temple Bell.

First Sound of the Temple Bell

The big temple bell arrived at the Center early in February. Later in the month, Ven Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the famous Tibetan lama and scholar, held a seminar and lecture at the Center and College. As host, Dr. Thien-An invited Rinpoche to join him in a special ceremony to honor the gift of the bell. It required four strong men to lift the bell for the two Venerables to strike it. Before striking it, Rinpoche solemnly said: "I hope the sound of the bell will reverberate everywhere and bring peace to the world."