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Bell of Benkei (Benkei no kane 弁慶鐘) Keller, Matthew P.


According to legend, this bell originally hung in an India monastery the Buddha visited. It came to be in the possession of the Dragon King who presented it to the temple of Miidera. In the late twelfth century, when Hieizan and Miidera were in conflict, the monk Benkei stole the bell from Miidera. However, whenever the bell was struck it sung out that it wished to return to its original temple. Benkei became angry with the bell and eventually returned it. Now it is said that the surface of the bell sweats whenever Miidera is in danger. A variant of this story can be found in WIlliam E. Griffis, Fairy Tales of Old Japan (London: Harrap & Co., 1911) 42-48.

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Attribution 4.0 International