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Document Details :
Title: Originating in Emptiness, Present Everywhere
Subtitle: Representations of Song Dynasty (960-1279) Buddhist Bells in their Inscriptions
Author(s): BURDORF, Suzanne
Journal: Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies
Volume: 43 Date: 2020
This article explores the literary genre of Buddhist bell inscriptions in Song Dynasty China and discusses them in the broader context of Song 'bell culture'. These inscriptions were written to commemorate the casting of a temple bell – an event of major significance for both the temple and the surrounding community – and therefore tended to be commissioned from famous writers and influential officials. Close reading of these inscriptions reveals that the prevailing image of Buddhist bells was shaped by both Song academic interest in bells as the preferred musical instruments of ancient rulers and a firm belief that tolling bells helped to advance Buddhist teaching. Some authors even insisted that the bell itself embodied the Buddhist principle of emptiness.