Please mind that my say here is limited to the TNH tradition which is the one 
I'm more familiar with.  The bell is a very important tool in the TNH tradition 
and the person who ring the bell would have need to have been trained in the 
ringing of the bell. Differently the sound would be unpleasant to hearing and 
far from being a sound bringing to the meditator back to his or her true home 
or buddha nature.   I'm not completely sure if the number of the rings for 
meditation is important.  It all depends upon who leads the meditation. 
However, while learning the basics ropes and before one gains that confidence 
with the bell,  there is the  initial called "awakening of the bell"  which is 
made soft and with the Japanese ringer stick beaten in a kind of deaf sound  
touching the top border of the bell , followed by three rings of the bell.  The 
ring of the bells are beaten in a different way that the initiall awakening of 
the bell. The one
 who rings the bell should leave an space time counted with his/her own three 
in and out breathing in awareness.  The one who ring the bell should always 
awake the bell before ringing at its complete sound.  If the three rings follow 
one after the other, then the awakening of the bell is only the first initial 
If there is something you can't understand, please ask.  Though..  I'm afraid I 
can't explain in detail the way the bell is sounded as it requires to be a face 
to face being seeing to show how the stick is hold, where it rests, the areas 
that it touches in the bell...
Thank you for your question

--- On Fri, 15/10/10, Jody W. Ianuzzi <> wrote:

From: Jody W. Ianuzzi <>
Subject: [Zen] meditation bells
Date: Friday, 15 October, 2010, 22:27


What are the proper number of rings for the meditation bells before a
meditation session? Do you start with three and end with one? 

Just curious.


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