o-tera kane no oto
where no one steps foot
the sound of a temple bell
As I said in a previous post, if you haven’t heard a Buddhist temple bell echoing across a mountain valley, or a rice field, or through the streets of a small village, you are really missing out. It is hard to say what exactly is special about it. It is somewhat unique, it reflects back to a pre-Modern existence. I have heard it said that every time a gong is rung, it has a unique sound, and it will never sound exactly the same as it did before. Perhaps one could say that about a temple bell too. But then again, that might be a bit false in an attempt to be esoteric.
Here is what a temple bell sounds like—perhaps you can get an idea from this how it sounds from a distance. It does not seem that loud, but it is certainly loud enough to carry into the surrounding countryside. And then there is the sound of a very distant temple bell…
But then this haiku is about a misty mountain where people don’t go. So where does the temple bell come from? An echo? Or is it an illusion? Or perhaps from another dimension?