Lama Zopa Rinpoche with his dorje and bell, Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, Washington, US, September 2016. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

During the 100 Million Mani Mantra Retreat in Italy, Lama Zopa Rinpoche talked about how to think when ringing the bell when doing Vajrasattva mantra. In this six-minute video clip from the October 20 teaching, Rinpoches notes that the vajra symbolizes method and the bell, wisdom. He explains how wisdom and method relate to each other in tantra and how the vajra and bell should be held together, not one by one. He then talks about the meaning of the bell sound.

“… So the bell sound means no phenomenon has true existence. No phenomenon has true existence, no phenomenon exists from its own side, by itself, or real. It appeared to our hallucinated mind, what is projected by ignorance, so then we from beginningless rebirths, we one hundred percent we believe, we grasp. So that is the basis of all the delusions, all the delusions, all the suffering. It is the basis of anger and attachment, all the delusions, then all suffering,” Rinpoche teaches. 

“… That means that all phenomena are empty from their own side. Like that. That is because all phenomena exist in mere name. When you recite Vajrasattva, it is not offering, it is to remind you of emptiness. In emptiness, when you ring the bell, in emptiness there is no real I. In emptiness there is no real action. In emptiness there is no real object. You ring the bell and meditate on that. So that becomes very powerful purification.”

Watch “What to think when ringing the bell and reciting Vajrasattva mantra”:

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.