Keisu Sound in Onsenji Temple, Toyooka

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  • Keisu Sound in Onsenji Temple, Toyooka 00:00
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In the Zen Buddhism tradition in Japan, there is a bell hung like a Bonsho, placed on a stand a cushion, reassembling a giant bowl. People play it by hitting the bell with a wooden stick srapped in cushioning. In Japan, bells such as this have many names, such as rin, kin, dobachi, keisu, kinshu, sahari, or Uchinarashi. It is shaped like a singing bowl like the Buddhism tradition in Tibet, which is played by rotating the lip of the bell with a stick that creates a resonating and meditative sound.

I recorded this Keisu sound in Onsenji Temple, Toyooka. It is a four hour travel from Kyoto. My friend, Kumiko-san, was the one who took me there and introduced me to Yuso-san, a minister that attends the temple. Yuso-san is the one who hits the bell in this recording.

The sound of the bell felt very meditative in this temple’s soundscape, which is very calm. I personally think that the bells in Japan are a masterpiece, similar to the gong that has spread across the Asian continent. Just listen to the sound. It has a very long sound, doesn’t it? The sound can resonate for more than a minute. It feels appropriate for this bell to be part of the Buddhist ritual.

On the other hand, from outside the Temple, you can hear birds chirping around the Onsenji Temple. Oh yes, this Temple itself is located on the foot of a mountain covered by trees. People usually use the cable cart to reach the Temple, although you can reach the Temple by climbing a steep climb.

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