The Evening Bell Chant begins the evening practice at Zen temples in Korea. It is also chanted at Zen centers established by Zen Master Seung Sahn (Dae Soen Sa Nim, to his students) in the West.
This chant begins our evening practice by declaring that, in perceiving the sound of the bell (“kwan um”), we are released from the dualistic world of thinking, we leave our thought-created hells behind, vowing to help all beings free themselves from the suffering created by their own delusive attachment to name and form, this and that. The chant ends with a repetition of “the Mantra of Shattering Hells”.
This version of the Evening Bell Chant was recorded during the annual 90-day Winter Kyol Che 2018/19 at Zen Center Regensburg e.V. It was filmed by Jayoon Choi of “times 3”, London. This recording contains an updated English translation of the words used in the chant.
OKwang Sunim is one of the senior disciples of Zen Master Seung Sahn (1927-2004). He was ordained in 1989 in Europe. In addition, he practiced some ten years in the forest traditions of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Thailand. He has done the 90-day Kyol Che retreat many times in Korean temples and in Zen Center Regensburg e.V. He is the guiding teacher of a very earnest Zen community based out of Belgrade and his little hermitage by a bend in the river, somewhere in his native Serbia. He is a very respected practitioner, a bodhisattva.
OKwang Sunim has a very natural, unpolished, mountain-monk expression of the chant, deeply heartfelt and filled with compassion for all sentient beings.
More videos of Sunim’s practice and teaching can be found on his YouTube channel: Mukdoam Zen Centar.