How to Invite the Bell

I go to many Buddhist events and everywhere, someone becomes the bell master and invites the bell. I listen to many dharma talks by many different dharma teachers and they often invite the bell. However, I have never come across another teacher who is as wonderful a bell master as Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) really knows how to invite the bell! 🙂

I have learned so much from this simple practice. It has consoled me in times of great illness. It has comforted me when I enter the meditation hall of one of his Order of Interbeing members. It brings me great pleasure to invite the bell when I lead the Mindfulness in Healing sangha on Wednesday nights.

In this video Sister Dang Nhiem teaches us how to invite the bell. At the time of the recording, she resided as a nun at Deer Park Monastery, Thay’s monastery in Escondido, CA. The images of Deer Park Monastery are really lovely.

The large bell in the video is about fifty times bigger that the simple small bell that I purchased in India many years ago. Even though it is small, it has a good sound. You can sample my simple bell here:

We begin Mindfulness in Healing sessions by inviting the bell and offering an invocation that inspires us to sit well together, share well together, and feel well together. The invocation is something that I wrote based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. It is preceded by three bells.

This life is the gift of the whole universe: the earth, the sky and many generations.
May we live in mindfulness in order to enjoy the wonders of life!

After reciting the invocation, we have three more bells followed by thirty minutes of silent meditation. Come join us if you are in the neighborhood (see below). We’ve only missed four or five nights since the summer solstice of 2009 when we began, and most of these were due to holidays.

How did you feel when you learned how to invite the bell from Sister Dang Nhiem? How did you feel when you played my little bell? Remember, the sound of the bell brings you back to your true HOME.

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