Monday, May 25, 2009

Priceless Buddhist Bell Located in Catholic Hands: Updated

Maryknoll, at Los Altos, California, was built in 1926 as a residential seminary for Catholic priests. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Maryknoll Society is the Catholic Foreign Service: not quite covert action at the Jesuit level, but still no slouch covering bare-chested ladies in the Third World. According to some observers, they are arguably the very inventors of rice-bowl Christianity.

In the 1970s, Maryknoll at Los Altos became a retirement home for missionaries, and it is here they while away their anecdotage, in proud possession of a Buddhist bell, cast in 1750, in China. The spoils of spiritual war, no doubt.

How they came by this bell isn't immediately revealed, but why they see fit to remain in possession is quite another matter.

If you're within a day's drive of Los Altos, do some sleuthing, and report your findings here. Any chance they want to do the right thing? Maybe they'll sell the whole place. The architecture is super, and I heard they need the money.

UPDATED:

Dan the Man, author of the very venerable Tibeto-logic weblog, gently sends the following pointing-out instruction:

I think it's only fair, since the Tibetan Buddhists have kept in their custody for the last 300 years a priceless Catholic bell. I guess it's in storage these days, but it used to hang in the entranceway of the Jokhang in Lhasa. With the Te Deum... inscribed on it. For proof, see here:

http://www.oraziodellapenna.com/eng_campana_storia.htm

Armenians have a Tibetan bell that is at least as old at Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the Jokhang of Armenia.

Catholics & Buddhists seem to have a bell exchange system. Maybe kind of like the Assamese who used Dorje Drilbus with the Dorjes removed for currency? Things get around, and not always for what we think are the right reasons.

Interesting world? I think so!

Well, during the Cold War, we used to arrange prisoner exchanges, so maybe...

Stumble Upon Toolbar

2 reader comments:

Dan said...

Dear Tenpa-laa,

I think it's only fair, since the Tibetan Buddhists have kept in their custody for the last 300 years a priceless Catholic bell. I guess it's in storage these days, but it used to hang in the entranceway of the Jokhang in Lhasa. With the Te Deum... inscribed on it. For proof, see here:

http://www.oraziodellapenna.com/eng_campana_storia.htm

Armenians have a Tibetan bell that is at least as old at Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the Jokhang of Armenia.

Catholics & Buddhists seem to have a bell exchange system. Maybe kind of like the Assamese who used Dorje Drilbus with the Dorjes removed for currency? Things get around, and not always for what we think are the right reasons.

Interesting world? I think so!

Your,
Dan

TENPA said...

Dan, every time I visit your scholarship I learn something new. Thanks for the link, which started with a bell and wound up with a dictionary.