Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Asian Art Museum: RIng that bell

Ring out the old, ring in the new at the 24th Annual Japanese Bell Ringing Ceremony.
As in the past, a 2100-lb., sixteenth-century Japanese bronze bell originally from a temple in Tajima Province in Japan and now part of the museum's permanent collection will be struck 108 times with a large custom-hewn log. According to Japanese custom, this symbolically welcomes the New Year and curbs the 108 bonno (mortal desires) which, according to Buddhist belief, torment humankind. Located in the foyer of the museum, people line up and in groups, strike the bell together. It is hoped that with each reverberation the bad experiences, wrong deeds, and ill luck of the past year will be wiped away. Thus, tolling heralds the start of a joyous, fresh New Year.

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.
Atisha (11th century Tibetan Buddhist master)

There will be a short performance of Japanese folk songs preceding the ceremony. Then, Zen Buddhist priest Gengo Akiba Roshi will conduct a blessing and begin the bell ringing. Akiba Roshi is director of the Soto Zen Buddhism North American office. He is also Zen teacher at Oakland's Kojin-an Zendo.

Numbered tickets to ring the bell are assigned to visitors on a first-come, first-serve basis in South Court beginning at 10:00 am, when the museum opens to the public.
No advance reservations are accepted. 108 groups of four to six people will be assembled to strike the bell
Thursday, December 31, 2009
FREE with museum admission
Children 12 and under always admitted free!
9:30–11:00 am: Bell Ringing for Asian Art Museum Members
10:00 am–2:00 pm: Art Activities
11:00 am: Bell Ringing Ceremony
http://www.asianart.org/

Mindfulness and the Buddhist Way:
Eightfold Path: http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/eightfoldpath.html
Four Noble Truths: http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/fourtruths.html
108 Mortal Desires: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%8Cmisoka
 Images courtesy of the Asian Art Museum/photographer J. Yin

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