Bonshō are large bells found in Buddhist temples throughout Japan, used
to summon the monks to prayer and to demarcate periods of time. Rather
than containing a clapper, bonshō (example at Ryōan-ji pictured) are
struck from the outside, using either a hand-held mallet or a beam
suspended on ropes. The bells are usually made from bronze, typically
augmented and ornamented with bosses, raised bands, and inscriptions.
The earliest appearance of these bells in Japan dates to around 600 CE,
although the general design is of much earlier Chinese origin. Their
penetrating and pervasive tone carries over considerable distances,
which led to their use as signals, timekeepers, and alarms. The sound is
thought to have supernatural properties; it is believed, for example,
that it can be heard in the underworld. Their spiritual significance
means that they play an important role in Buddhist ceremonies,
particularly the New Year and Bon festivals. Throughout Japanese history
a number of these bells have become associated with stories and legends,
both fictional, such as the Benkei Bell of Mii-dera, and historical,
such as the bell of Hōkō-ji. In modern times, bonshō have become
symbols of world peace.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonsh%C5%8D>
Today's selected anniversaries:
Scottish physician James Young Simpson discovered the
anaesthetic qualities of chloroform.
American Civil War: Nathan Bedford Forrest led a cavalry
division in an attack on a Union Army supply base at Johnsonville,
Tennessee, capturing 150 prisoners.
The remains of an unknown soldier were buried with an eternal
flame at the Altare della Patria in Rome.
Salvador Allende took office as President of Chile, the first
Marxist to become president of a Latin American country through open
Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos was granted a
presidential pardon by Corazon Aquino and allowed to return from exile.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. (folklore) A nightmare; a spectre or wraith-like creature in
Scandinavian folklore, especially one that causes terrifying visions or
2. (Buddhism) A malicious or evil spirit.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The first priority of humankind in this era is to establish
an effective system of world law that will assure peace with justice
among the peoples of the world.
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