Photo: YouTube/公式チャンネル浄土宗

Temple bell tolling on New Year’s Eve gets rid of evil desires, but not complaints

By Koh Ruide, SoraNews24

The passing of a year here in Japan is marked by the annual ringing of temple bells, one of many Buddhist traditions practiced in Japan. The bell is rung a whopping 108 times in total during the ceremony, with the last strike ushering in a new year.

It’s believed that humans harbor 108 worldly desires, such as anger, suspicion and lust, that prevent us from achieving ultimate happiness. Each strike on the temple bell removes an evil desire, and so we enter the new year with a clean slate.

Given the proximity of some of these bells to residential areas, though, some locals seem to have had enough of the ruckus caused by the ceremony. Although few complaints are filed every year, their impact is enough to have pushed certain temples into ceasing the annual practice entirely.

One example is the bell in Senju-in Temple in Koganei, western Tokyo, which has been sitting quietly for the past four years.

It’s not as if the bells are being struck continuously by a DJ on crack; there’s plenty of silence and downtime between strikes. It’d be a different story if the bells emit annoying high-pitched sounds, but they’re really low and deep, and, in many people’s opinions, not at all disruptive.

▼ Here’s a New Year’s Eve bell ringing ceremony at Chion-in, Kyoto, for reference.

Japanese netizens voiced dissatisfaction over the complaints, with many appalled to see their fellow countrymen objecting against a deep-seated tradition:

“It’s not constantly ringing so just bear with it.”

“I don’t understand why they have to complain every year.”

“How narrow-minded are they to stop such a long-standing tradition?”

“How tragic that our traditional culture is slowly being lost this way. It’s a sign of the times I tell you.”

“I want to see with my own eyes just what kind of person would say such a thing.”

Perhaps the bell tolling is a nightmare of an event for a few Japanese, but it’s really depressing to witness a ceremony held with nothing but good intentions get snuffed out of existence.

Source: Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- The 100 Soundscapes of Japan: A list of Japan’s greatest natural, cultural, and industrial sounds

-- In a country steeped in tradition, two prefectures are completely void of historical temples

-- Japanese monk band performs rockin’ live street performance on Christmas Eve【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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FFS some people should just wallow in their own misery and not ruin it for everyone else, it's only once a year. I can understand shrines wanting to keep a good relationship with their neighbours but the shrine should continue its traditions as it has been and will likely continue to be there way longer than a disgruntled neighbour.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I actually lament the fact that we can't hear the bells tolling at midnight out where we live in western Tokyo. I used to be able to hear them ringing at Kitain Temple when I lived in Kawagoe, its something I truly miss during New Year. I can't imagine why anyone would complain about such a thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can't imagine why anyone would complain about such a thing. I live within 200m of a temple and hear the bell ring during Newyear, It only one day a year , and it gives that Christmas feel, even though it isnt.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We live next to, about 100m's from a major 1,000+ year zen temple, the sounding of the huge bell is a daily event which in the mornings in summer, is about 4am, and in the winter around 5am. Again in the evenings and sometimes during the day if they are holding teaching events or on their special days. New Year are the 108 strikes.

We have never been troubled by the bell over the 15 years we have lived here. I find it quite relaxing and soon we might miss the sound, because this year we need to move to a new property and probably new location. There are several smaller temples so the bell ringing comes from all directions. When I lived in Amsterdam, the bells of the many churches rang all day, every day.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Blimey, it's only once a year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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