Friday, October 18, 2013

Sounds of Japan: The Jesuit Bell at Shunko-in

Two years ago when my students and I traveled to Japan we visited Shunkō-in, a monastic cloister within the Myōshin-ji temple complex at the edge of Kyoto.  Shunkō-in hosts Zen meditation instruction in English, our reason for visiting, but also houses the bell rescued from the Jesuit church when it was destroyed in 1587.

We stayed two nights at the temple this year, once again getting instruction in Zen meditation from the vice-abbot whose voice you hear in the video clip.  We also enjoyed his tour of the cloister, including a chance to hear the bell, to see where it had been buried by his grandfather to keep it from being melted down during the second World War, and to learn a bit more about the ways to view Zen gardens (sit down inside, rather than stand on the porch, a perspective which I noted did enhance the sense of borrowed landscape, the way in which things outside of the garden seem to become an integral part of its composition).

A post about the bell written for the feast of Paul Miki and his companions last year.


  1. That is stunning Michelle, thank you so much for posting this. I love that it is the Jesuit bell, so fitting.

    1. I now realize that you had posted about this before, but it is before 7am, and I am not completely awake! I need to hear the bell!

    2. Me, too! I enjoyed taking the recording to play for my friends at the Jesuit Center...