Bell made of 500lb bomb canister


 

   During the Viet Nam War, the U.S. military used bombs and mines to destroy several localities, and Bình Thuận Province was one of them. The attacks reached its peak during the years 1960-1972 when bombs rained down on the so-called iron triangle (Hàm Thắng, Hàm Chính, Hàm Liêm) in Hàm Thuận Bắc District, Bình Thuận Province, inflicting several losses and sufferings for the inhabitants in these areas.

 

   The corpses were gathered and taken to Bửu Lâm Pagoda in Bình Lâm Hamlet, Hàm Chính Commune, Hàm Thuận Bắc District, Bình Thuận Province, and were then received and buried by their families. The pagoda was built in 1960, later becoming part of one strategic hamlet built by the former Sài Gòn government. In the beginning, materials like bamboo and leaves were employed for the pagoda’s simple construction, and it had no bell for ritual practices. Hence, the locals cut half of the canister of an unexploded 500lb bomb and inscribed four Chinese characters meant by Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in Vietnamese on its four sides to symbolize the law of seasons in the natural world or the wheel of birth and death of Buddhist philosophy. Then it was hung on a stand with a cable and considered the pagoda’s bell. Whenever a ritual was performed, the sound of the bell echoed like the call for the country’s aspirations to peace.

 

   After the war, Buddhist monk Thích Thông Giám, the pagoda’s head, requested that martyrs’ remains be gathered and brought to the pagoda to pray for the peace of their souls before their burial in a local martyrs’ cemetery. In 1994, he raised funds to build the central chamber and replace the bell made of bomb canister with a new one. In June 2012, the Venerable Thích Nguyên Hộ, his successor, gave the old bell to a collector named Nguyễn Ngọc Ẩn so that it can be used as a museum artifact. On January 12, 2020, Ẩn gave the bell to the War Remnants Museum in order that the peace message will be delivered to visitors.

 

 

 
   
  Date 12/01/2021  

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