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
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