Project Description

Donating a World Peace Bell to the Holy Place of Rajgir

Rajgir has a central place in the history of Buddhism, for within the circle of hills that surround this ancient royal city lies Vulture Peak, where the Prajnaparamita teachings were given, and the Saptabparni Cave, where 500 Arhats gathered after the Parinirvana and held the First Council of the Buddhist Sangha. Ruled by King Bimbisara in Buddha’s time, the Kingdom of Magadha eventually grew into the Mauryan Empire, ruled by the Great Emperor Ashoka, who did so much to promote the spread of the Dharma in the ancient world.

For the opening of the Rajgir bell, Venerable Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche wrote the following words:

The scriptures relate that twenty-five centuries ago, when the Buddha ascended the Vulture Peak, heavenly flowers appeared and the Buddhafields trembled. As the Buddha arose to teach, a ray of light emanated from the forehead of the World-Honored One and illuminated the cosmos from the eighty-thousand Buddhafields deep into the hells. Celestial beings of the ten directions flocked to Rajgir; Bodhisattvas and gods appeared in the skies, and the Sangha of Arhats and disciples gathered to hear the Lord of Light set forth the path that puts an end to karma and klesha and opens doors to complete, perfect Enlightenment.

The voice of the Great Muni still resounds in this land, where Arhats attained realization through the teachings of the Thirty-seven Wings of Enlightenment, Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and Pratityasamutpada, the understanding that releases beings from endless cycles of birth and death. Here also are the bases of the Five Paths to Awakening and keys to perfect wisdom that guide the Great Bodhisattvas. Heard by Brahma and Indra, these and more profound revelations were later rehearsed on Vulture Peak by Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, and Vajrapani. The valley and fields of Rajgir still resonate with the dialogues of Arhats, disciples, patriarchs, and Bodhisattvas, as these great beings continued to unfold the blessings of Enlightenment. Even now, the power of these blessings attract pilgrims from throughout the world to honor this holy place and to pray that all beings realize the abiding peace of nirvana. Wishing to amplify these blessings for the benefit of all humanity, we offer this bell, symbol of Vaca, the Buddhas voice, and the liberating qualities conveyed through Enlightened Speech.

Sutras relate that the speech of the Sugata is soft, supporting the roots of virtue; mild, causing delight even in those involved in worldly life; pleasing by its meaning; free from the influence of the passions; brilliant in its clarity; producing ease in the body; and satisfying the mind. Clearing away all doubt, the speech of the Buddha gladdens the heart. Liberated from sorrow, it is always joyful. Free from all that causes pain and sorrow, it brings peace and happiness to body, mind, and spirit.

The word of the Buddha is powerful, like the roar of the lion; it exudes dignity, like the cry of an elephant; it penetrates deeply, like the roll of thunder. It is worthy of being heard, like the voice of the nâga king. It is sweet, like the music of gandharvas; it is clear and melodious, like the song of the kalabinka. It reaches far, like the sound of Brahmâ, lord of the highest heavens; it is delightful, like the voice of Indra. Conveying many ideas in one, it satisfies all human faculties. Heard equally well near or far, it reaches beings in all realms of existence.

Resonant with the power of the Great Physician, may the voice of this bell transcend the boundaries of language, culture, and fixed views to inspire humanity with the goal of universal peace and understanding. May its sound reverberate throughout the ten directions, healing the wounds of greed and aggression and filling the minds of beings everywhere with thoughts of peace and loving-kindness.

We are humbled and gratified by this opportunity to dedicate the Peace Bell of Rajgir to the people of this holy land of Enlightenment, home of the Chakravartin King Ashoka, renowned for peace and wise governance; home also of Gandhiji, Nehru, and their successors who continue Ashoka’s legacy today through their support of democracy and religious freedom.

This Peace Bell is our gesture of gratitude for the hospitality shown Tibetans seeking refuge in this sacred realm. To the government of Bihar and the directors of this place of worship, we offer thanks for permission to place the Peace Bell at the Vishvashanti Stupa on Chattha Hill, where its voice can resound throughout the hills of Rajgir. May the merit of this offering sustain the longevity of the Dharma and foster peace throughout the world, May all of Bharata’s great spiritual traditions welcome this bell as a gesture of mutual respect and understanding, a symbol of our shared aspirations for peace that liberates the human heart and mind.