About the temple bell
The meaning of hitting the bell
The meaning of “hit the bell” is to “deliver that sound.” To whom? This is for Buddha. In this context, Buddha does not refer only to Nyorai, Bodhisattva, etc. enshrined in temples. For example, when poking at the bell in the temple, who would you like to see who is visiting a temple? It’s even better if you think of it and do the procedure. The Buddha who hears the sound of the bell will be aware of and protect pilgrims from Buddha’s world.
The clock system in the Edo period used the Japanese clock. This method divides a day into six equal parts, daytime, and nighttime, based on dawn and nightfall. The day and night’s length is different even during the day, and it also changes depending on the season, so it was a complicated system where the time always changed. At that time, the primary method of telling people about time was using the bell at a place like a castle, temple, or town. The bell was called the Time Bell, and there was an announcement throughout the day and night. In the Edo period, there were nine temples and villages around Edo Castle. In the main castle towns such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagasaki in the rural areas, at first, the time system under the jurisdiction of the Shogunate was adopted. Still, soon it became a bell for citizens. It was rung once at a time. It is considered that this time system spread nationwide for the citizens to live a regular life in line with the needs of the times was a milestone in that era.
Timing to ringing the bell
The proper timing to hit the bell is before your prey at the main hall and strictly following this. It ought to be okay to go back and hit the bell to the point where cleaned your hands at the waterhouse, but it’s not recommended after offering a candle. As a Buddha, “If you told me that you came to the temple when you about to leave.” Rigidly, if you hit the bell after the worship preparation/suspicion, you can do the worship preparation/suspicion again. So there’s not quite a strict rule. Besides, the bell hitting when you leave a temple is called an exit-bell, and it refers to when performing at a funeral. In the present sense, it is the same as ringing a car horn when departing from a funeral home to a crematorium. It is also said that it is possible to lose money by multiplying payment money. In any case, it is not an auspicious thing, so please be careful about this.
Be sure to hit the bell before worshiping
If all the temples are enormous and famous like 88 places in Shikoku Island, there will always be somebody there, and they will respond to the visiting pilgrims, but in the old days, it was difficult to operate with only temple business. For example, a temple bell rang while people were going to the field, and if they returned with that signal, they could give the pilgrims the sutra. If the bell rang when they were about to leave after worshiping, monks couldn’t make it in time, or they would have to wait for the sutra. There are temples with bells also without bells. Also, there are some bells that pilgrims cannot hit. Please check when you arrive at a temple.