Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Zen moment

A funny thing happened on my way to the Machane Yehuda shuk this morning. Instead of transferring to my usual second bus I decided to walk in the general direction of the shuk (market).
And all manner of surprises were around, waiting to be discovered!
Three hours later I realized it was time to catch my infrequent bus back to my village. I came home with tons of photos but zero fruits and vegetables.

But look at this! Jerusalem's Gan Sacher park has a bonsho, a Japanese Zen Buddhist temple bell!

There are 108 little chubchiks around the top. And in Japan, Hawaii, etc. the bonsho is struck 108 times on New Year's Eve to eradicate the 108 "Buddhist sins," the blind desires one has created throughout the year. (Or so I learn now via the Internet.)

The plaque under the bell reads:

"The bonsho has been placed here as a symbol of lasting peace over the City of Jerusalem. The concept of the bell was welcomed by the late Prime Minister of Israel Mr. Yizhak Rabin. The project was made possible by the donations of people whose names are listed in the scroll beneath the Bonsho, represented by Mr. Pikihiro Madarame, presented to the City of Jerusalem and accepted by the Mayor M.K. Ehud Olmert. April 1996."

Click on the photo above to read the famous verse from Psalms: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love thee."


Striking the bonsho is associated with striking against evil. I wonder, then, why we have no wooden beam suspended next to this bell.

In the background is the old neighborhood of Nachlaot, beyond which is the shuk.

Yes, I came home hungry but filled with satisfaction that our Jewish leaders in Jerusalem were open to the lovely meaning of the bonsho and were gracious enough to accept the beautiful bell.


Small City Scenes said...

What a lucky find for you. The bell or bonsho is just beautiful as are the etchings and inscriptions. A wonderful gesture well taken. MB

GMG said...

Hi Dina!
Sorry for the absence and the delay these last weeks, but unfortunately it wasn’t due to some summer holidays… ;))
Thanks for your comments on Blogtrotter, now at the MoMA for Art and New York lovers! Hope you enjoy and wish you a great week! I’ll try to get back here with some more time during the week!

Rambling Woods said...

Hello Dina...when you deviate from the path, you find wonderful things. How interesting the story of the bell is. Peace..a small word with so much promise..I wonder if there will ever be peace..

April said...

I enjoyed your interesting post about the bonsho temple bell and its symbolism. Thank you for your nice comment on my "burning sun" photo at Picture This. Best wishes, April

Beaman said...

Great photos. :)

ichandrae said...

hi Dina.
The bells are so sacred &beautiful in their own rite & to add the tension of a gift from another culture makes it so much more so.

The chimes at my canadian city square are the most beautiful music of our city & coupled with the fact that it was constructed with the money earned from our volunteers makes it all the more beautiful.

Lin said...

hi decided to comment after seeing your name on many of my fellow blogging friends comments. fascinating that there is this bell in jerusalem where peace should reign but doesn't. i've been to japan to pick up a missionary son but have never seen israel-always wanted to but then travel there became too dangerous but maybe i can enjoy it through your blog. i did my master's thesis on israeli folk dance which i love at brigham young university in utah. they have an education center in jerusalem. salom.

Rambling Round said...

Interesting. I wouldn't have expected to find this in Jerusalem.

Sara said...

How interesting! I'd love to hear that when it is struck.

Louis la Vache said...

Very interesting post, Dina. "Louis" is glad to read about your discovery.

Petrea said...

It's a beauty! I, too, would love to hear it ring.

Isn't it wonderful what you find when you walk? We're in our cars here so much. When I just park the thing and walk, I find so much.

fishing guy said...

Dina: An interesting find you made in the Holy Land. Thanks for your work on the narrative.

Middle Ditch said...

That is an amazing bell. I'm glad that I came here. This is all very interesting.

Sherry Stewart said...

Amazing bell, just beautiful. hmm wonder if our liberty bell looked like that...the US would probably have a whole different face.

THe design is very appealing isn't it?
I guess you had better get them to install a I'm curious now, you saw this from the bus windows?

SandyCarlson said...

I love that story. I am glad you found this Buddhist bell even if you didn't get your fruit and vegetables (How selfish of me!) That's a wonderful symbol of humility. I like it very much. God bless.

the donG said...

i love nachalot in the background. the place though looks so hot.

the teach said...

Dina, thank you for that story! What wonderful things we discover if we change our path(or walk instead of take the bus). :)

Kay said...

I agree with you completely that it's wonderful the Jewish leaders were open to putting up something Buddhist. When Tif (my daughter) was married to a fellow from a Christian family, although we paid for it, we had the wedding in her in-law to be's church and did everything as they preferred. When she mentioned that she wanted a short reading that came from Art and my Buddhist wedding book to be read, even though she would take out any Buddhist words they said they would not come to the wedding if it was read during the ceremony.

I think it's very sad and the reason why we have wars and discord. Rigid intolerance is so wrong. I congratulate Israel for being open minded and respectful.

You asked if I had anything to add about the Bonsho. I don't know much about it. I'll ask my mom since her father was a Buddhist zen priest.

Shimmy Mom said...

What a wonderful find! Sorry you didn't get any groceries though. Sometimes there are just more important things I guess.

Louise said...

That bell is beautiful. And how wonderful that you just happened upon it. Hope you found some food soon!