Friday, May 24, 2013

Travel Photo: Buddhist Temple Bell

This Bell is Located in Yabu, Okinawa, Japan


There are many locations around the island where you may see these bronze bells.

It is said that the bells are rung 108 times for the New Year.

Some sources will tell you, the purpose, is to rid yourself of the 108 worldly desires.

New Year's Eve and Day, I have never made it to a temple on time to witness the event.

So, I can't say for sure that the practice takes place in Okinawa.

There have been times, I witnessed people ringing the bell during the calendar year.

They just ring the thing once or, twice and it makes a fairly loud GONG.

They may have rung it just to do the tourist thing.

Or, maybe, they only had one or two worldly desires, to get rid of.  I'm not sure.

One of these days, I'll get a religious adviser and see if we can figure this one out for you.


MoreThingsJapanese said...

Hi Mike!

They ring a bell on New Year's Eve on Kitadaito Island. That Island was settled by people from Hachijo Island near Tokyo so its a mix of mainland Japanese and Okinawan culture.. Which means I don't know if it's done in other parts of Okinawa.

On Kita all the people who come ring it once (up to the religiously significant number), I was told it was done to dispel sins and bad luck from the previous year.

Afterward, people at Okinawan soba and then prayed at the local shrine. Since it's a Buddhist tradition, I wouldn't be surprised to find it at other places around Okinawa!

RyukyuMike said...

Yes, I've heard it's done different ways depending upon local or, prefecture customs. It seems, I'm always tied-up with other earthly things at that time of year and miss out on a lot.