This is a typical morning ritual in Chinese Mahayana Monastery. The performance of drum and bell is awe-inspiring, even if you do not understand the Chinese prayers.
Imagine standing in this grand prayer hall with fantastic acoustic. You feel a bit sleepy and the morning dew is in the air. The temperature is low and there may be mist or fog outside.
Then the sound of drum starts to play. You stand there waiting for the day to start. Dreams and thoughts rolled on endlessly in your mind. Just like the rolling drum beats. Aware that you are now in the deep mountains, your thoughts goes to the rolling clouds and mist outside.
You are inspired by how your uncontrollable thoughts are fleeting like those clouds or fog.
Then the drum is pierced by a resounding bell toll. That is our religious thoughts. Our spiritual efforts. The rolling drum stopped. The bright sound of the bell had taken over, and that is followed by an earnest goodwill prayer.
Praying for Good weather without calamities. The country’s rulers and ministers are well placed and rewarded. Wars will cease and all war spirits be liberated. May Wanderers find their home soon. May all beings be reborn in Buddha land. and the prayers for the welfare of the world continues…..Taking refuge in the various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas….
Just as the bell replaces the rolling drum, such thoughts of loving kindness dispel the earlier foggy dream-like thoughts. Our delusive thoughts.
The following video reminded me of my youth camp experience and I hope you enjoy this “trip” to witness what it is like in the Chinese Mahayana Monastery.
高旻法音01－－鐘鼓 巡板（Morning Drum）