The Temple Bells : Story

The temple was built on an island and it held a thousand bells.
Bells big and small, fashioned by the the finest craftsmen in the
world. When the wind blew of a storm raged, all the bells
would peal out in a symphony that would send the heart of the
hearer into raptures.

But over the centuries the island sank into the sea and, with it,
the temple bells. An ancient legend said that the bells continued
to peal out, ceaslessly, and could be heard by anyone who would
listen. Inspired by this legend, a young man traveled thousands
of miles, determined to hear those bells. He sat for days on the
shore, facing the vanished island, and listened with all his
might. But all he could hear was the sound of the sea. He made
every effort to block it out. But to no avail; the sound of the sea
seemed to flood the world.

He kept at his task for weeks. Each time he got disheartened he
would listen to the village pundits, who spoke with unction of the
mysterious legend.
Then his heart would be aflame… only to become discouraged
again when weeks of further effort yielded no results.

Finally he decided to give up the attempt. Perhaps he was not
destined to hear the bells. Perhaps the legend was not true. It
was his final day, and he went to the short to say goodbye to
the sea and the sky and the wind and the coconut trees. He lay
on the sand, and for the first time, listened to the sound of the
sea. Soon he was so lost in the sound that he was barely
conscious of himself, so deep was the silence that the sound

In the depth of that silence, he heard it! The tinkle of the tiny bell
followed by another, and another, and another.. and soon
every one of the thousand temple bells was pealing out in
harmony, and his heart was rapt in joyous ecstacy.

Do you wish to hear the temple bells? Listen to the sound of the sea.

Do you wish to catch a glimpse of God? Look intently at creation.


This is from the same book that I’ve been getting alot of parables from, a story about none other than the absolute. It just goes to show that human beings are always searching for what they want and meanwhile the search for the answer seems to be without reward.

But the moment you begin to be bereft of the search, does the answer drift into view. We often seek conclusions in conflicts in daily life even knowing that in most cases it will not produce results or desired results, so with this wisdom, why do we still do it? Is it out of habit, bodily habit and function that we seek a method in which produces no results.

Why not be like the boy in the story and merely take in the sound of the sea and through the sound be open to everything else, without the seeking of conclusion, the answer has been there all along, and to realize that we have been veiling the conclusion all along because of our own want for self gain?

Who are you, and why do you seek an identity instead of re-discovering who you really are?

Also in respect to the Absolute, I’ve sound that since technologies advances that we have shut ourselves off from nature, we are not able to really see what Truth is because we use such things to distract ourselves from really living (music in terms of ipods on walks, tv during downtime, books) whatever the means. Next time you go outside, try just listening to creation, observe it. Its unconditional love is there for a reason, its throwing wisdom at you so intensely because it wants you to realize yourself but you have to be receptive to it, to rediscover.


Nick Myers, a 28 year old serial blogger. Also minimalist, zen participant, philosopher, author of Emotional Alchemist, and tea disciple. I am one who sees a potential lesson in every experience in life. Life is who we are and life is our ultimate guru. I seek to bring us together through our own shared experiences. And hope to not only learn deeply who I am but to learn deeply who others are by dropping my ideas from moment to moment about you.

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5 comments on “The Temple Bells : Story
  1. Jasmine says:

    May I ask the cultural origin of this story? I have heard it and no research I do can tell me where this lovely tale is from. Anything helps, thank you!

  2. zenkitties says:

    Hey Jasmine,

    Of course you may ask, however I don’t have an answer for you unfortunately. I only know that it comes from page 22-23 of The Song of the Bird by Anthony De Mello but this obviously didn’t come directly from him. It is a lovely story though isn’t it? =]

    For all we know as readers is that the story could be made up, as in the place could be a fiction created by some zen master, as stories often are to get the point across to the reader or seeker, but it would be interesting to find out this is actually a place!

  3. hemachandra says:

    Most likely from India (South?)… The “village pundit” being a clue…
    The author of the book cited is also from India.

  4. zenkitties says:

    hey hemachandra,

    thanks for the update or possible clues as to where this story might of taken place! 🙂

  5. john says:

    I ask who is the author of this poem and how to write this in bigbook

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