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Stone Lanterns and Wind Bells (석등, 풍경)

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Stone Lanterns and Wind Bells

석등, 풍경

A stone lantern is a lantern carved from stone to lighten the darkness outside. It originated with the Buddha who lit up the monastery when giving Dharma talks. As time passed, the stone lantern became a regular fixture in every Buddhist temple. In the past, a single lantern was placed either in front of the Dharma hall or a pagoda. However, lately, pairs of stone lanterns are frequently used for symmetry. The stone lantern represents the light of wisdom which brightens up the mind, awakens the world from darkness and leads people to nirvana.

Wind bells are hung on the eaves of Dharma halls or pagodas. A fish-shaped metal piece hangs from the bell's clapper, causing it to strike the bell when the wind blows. The gentle ring of the bell in the breeze not only adds classical beauty to the temple but also soothes the hearts of anyone nearby. The main function of the wind bell is, however, to arouse practitioners from sloth and torpor. The metal fish reminds practitioners to be always awake, just as fish keep their eyes open even during sleep.

- excerpt from Buddhist English (Elementary 2) published in 2014 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

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