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Bell and Drum Tower

Bell and Drum Tower in Lingyin Temple is situated at both sides of the Hall of Heavenly Kings, with the Drum Tower on the west and the Bell Tower on the east.

Bell and drum are important implements in a Buddhist temple, functioning as a signal for monks to gather together.

The bell, also named as the big bell, the Buddhist bell, the striking bell, the large bell, the magnificent bell, the huge bell and so on, are mostly cast in bronze, with a few made of iron. Normally a bell should be 150 centimeters high and 60 centimeters in diameter, with a hook on the top carved into the figure of a dragon head, and correspondingly, a base plate engraved with a lotus called “Eight leaves”. This kind of bell is often seen in the Bell Tower, which is used to call all the monks together or strike the hour, morning and evening. The big bell is the earliest command in the temple. The morning bell rings to awake the long night sleep, while the evening bell striking away the drowsiness. In the morning and evening, the big bell rings three times, with thirty-six strikes respectively, one hundred and eight in total.

 The drum is composed of two drumheads and a hollow-out log, which can produce sound by beating. There are various kinds of drums such as Jie drum, woodblock drum, cloud drum, sistrum, Jin drum, stone drum, hanging drum and so on. Similar to the bell, the drum is also used to summon all the monks in the temple.

 Although the bell and the drum are only temple implements, they function correspondingly to the Buddha Dharma. Since the bell creates a unique peaceful sound of Buddha and the drum can awaken those who have lost themselves in the chase of fame and fortune, “the morning bell and evening drum” have become one of the important Buddhist symbols for people to know about Buddhism.

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