July 11, 2018

Learning to Invite the Bell – Plum Village

Ask the children to sit upright, beautifully like a proud statue. They can sit on a chair or on the floor, cross legged, or kneeling. The back should be straight, but relaxed. We can only invite the bell when we are calm and peaceful, because the sound of the bell reflects our mind. We can only help others be peaceful when we are also graceful. So we recite this poem before we invite the bell:

Breathing-in: Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness.

Breathing-out: I send my heart along with the sound of the bell.

Breathing-in: May those who hear it awaken from forgetfulness. 

Breathing-out: And overcome all anxiety and sorrow.

A more child-like version of the above poem is: I am really here, with my mind and body together. I am calm and happy and I want this sound of the bell to help others feel calm and happy.

Or: Breathing-in, I am calm, Breathing-out, I am smiling.



Ask the children to write their own poems for listening to and inviting the bell and then to really practice using them whenever they hear or invite the bell. They should breathe-in and out at least 3 times before picking up the bell to invite it.

Tell the children that we say “inviting the bell to sound” not “striking or hitting the bell” because it is a sound that can help many people and we always treat the bell with respect. Then we join our palms and bow to express our respect to the bell and also to show the unity of our mind and body. We pick the bell up and place it in the palm of one hand that remains flat, outstretched. With the other hand we pick up the inviter and wake up the bell. We breathe in and out once after the wake-up sound and before making a full sound of the bell. The full sound should be strong and clear. If we mistakenly invite the bell too softly, we can invite a stronger sound straight away. Then we enjoy three in- and out breaths. We place the bell down and bow. Invite all the children to try inviting the bell once.