The Buddhist temple bell encapsulates both the science of sound and the art of beautiful design and form, allowing the heart to open in its grandeur. Korean Buddhist temple bells (beomjong) are a symbol of Korean Buddhism and a national art treasure. Against the darkness of early dawn, when the world is still asleep, the sound of ringing bells resonates deep within the mountains. In repeatedly breaking the surface of one's greed and rage that is as strong as cast iron, one comes to recognize the deep and clear resonance of enlightenment from deep within the emptiness of the heart. The temple bell of Korea, called "beomjong" in Korean, is so unique that it has been given its own classification ("Korean bell") in the field of acoustic science. The oldest surviving temple bell in Korea today is the bronze bell of Sangwonsa Temple, located deep inside Odaesan Mountain. Together with their deep and clear sounds, Korean temple bells have slender and flowing shapes and are adorned with beautiful, delicate designs. The largest surviving temple bell in Korea is the Sinjong of King Seongdeok, today housed in Gyeongju National Museum.
Father Giles Conacher lights a candle in the lady chapel at Pluscarden Abbey on in Elgin, Scotland. Tibetan monks take part in a function organized to mark the 80th birthday celebrations of the Dalai Lama in Kathmandu on Monday. Buddhist monks and volunteers clean the 15m-high great Buddha statue during the annual Ominugui ceremony at Todaiji temple in the ancient capital of Nara, in western Japan.
Hundreds of Buddhist monks and devotees celebrate Vesak Day in ancient Borobudur temple which is decorated with 72 Buddha statues in Magelang, Central Java province, on Thursday.


This sound, which awakens humans from sleep, brightens the darkness, reverberates as far as the horizon and seeps into the Earth as deep as hell itself, announces that to dispel a lifetime of pain and agony and travel the path of enlightenment, one only needs to empty and open the heart. This is what the sound of the Buddhist temple bell signifies, and the reason why it rings without fail each dawn.
The most prominent feature of the Korean temple bell is its enduring, elegant shape, which allows the subtle yet clear bell ring to be heard several kilometers away as a "woong-woong-woong" sound that repeats like it will break off at any moment and yet lingers on. While the designs on temple bells in China and Japan usually include double-headed dragons, Korean bells are often engraved with one dragon bent at the waist in a lifelike posture. On the day of tsunami, Thai navy boat 813 was on patrol about one nautical mile offshore serving as a guard to members of royal family staying at one of the resorts near-by. The solemn yet distinct, clear sound of the Buddhist temple bell's lingering ring brings a sense of momentary peace to the body and mind burdened by worldly concerns, allowing one to repent and open the heart. The long sound is caused by the undulation phenomenon, in which the bell's vibrations create two simultaneous strong and weak sounds that intermingle and repeat, enabling the ringing to travel long distances.
Thailand prepares to mark the tenth anniversary of the 2004 tsunami, the deadliest on the record, that killed at least 226,000 people in 13 Asian and African countries. There is also the belief that hearing the temple bell ring brings salvation to those who are suffering in hell by bringing them back to paradise.
In Thailand, over 5300 people were killed, including several thousand foreign tourists, when the waves swamped six coastal provinces, turning some of the world’s most beautiful beaches into mass graves. Because of the various meanings associated with it, the Buddhist temple bell of Korea has been one of the most important tools of Buddhist ritual since early times. Detailed scientific analyses have revealed that the cause is the differing thicknesses of the bell's top, middle, and bottom.


This shape is found only in Korean temple bells, and its origin and function are still unknown to scholars. The Sinjong of King Seongdeok is also called the Emile bell, a name based on a macabre legend that a human baby was embedded into the bell's material.
However, it is not easy to calculate the thickness ratio of the bell for which the undulating phenomenon becomes possible, even with modern scientific tools. The shoulder and mouth of the bell are decorated with a vine design, with the bell's shoulder covered with four square designs that each has nine circular points, totaling 36 in all. It is so striking and regal that one German scholar is said to have exclaimed upon seeing the bell that if there were such an artifact in Germany, he would not hesitate to build a separate museum for it. It remains a mystery how Koreans 1,000 years ago were able to find this out for themselves. On the body of the bell is a spot called the "dangjwa" that is hit in order to make it ring. The dangjwa usually consists of a highly detailed and beautiful design depicting a fairy rising to heaven.



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