Above is the live ceremony at Chion-in Temple in Kyoto ringing in the new year with 108 strikes of the bell.
Chion-in Temple is a significant Buddhist temple located in Kyoto, Japan. It is the headquarters of the Jodo-shu (Pure Land) sect of Buddhism and is known for its grand gate, the Sanmon, which is the largest wooden gate in Japan.
The temple was founded in 1234 by Hōnen, the founder of the Jodo-shu sect, and has a long history of over 800 years. It is a popular tourist destination in Kyoto, known for its beautiful gardens, cultural and historical significance, and the famous temple bell, known as the Great Bell of Chion-in, which is one of the largest in Japan and is rung on New Year’s Eve.
In addition to its religious significance, Chion-in Temple is also an important cultural and historical site. It was designated a National Treasure of Japan in 1954, and it is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In Japan, the 108 bell ceremony is a traditional Buddhist ritual that is performed in some temples on the evening of December 31. The ceremony is based on the belief that ringing a bell 108 times will help to purify the mind and bring in the new year with a clean slate.
During the ceremony, a monk or a layperson will ring a large bell, known as a “joya-no-kane,” 108 times. Each ring is believed to represent one of the 108 earthly desires or troubles that humans are said to have, and the ringing of the bell is meant to symbolize the release of these desires and troubles.
The ceremony is usually accompanied by prayers and chanting, and is often followed by a period of meditation or reflection. Many people in Japan participate in the 108 bell ceremony as a way to mark the end of the year and to set intentions for the new year ahead.
I wrote more about it here.
Phrase of the Day: Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu: あけましておめでとうございます – Happy New Year!