This was when Ekido was abbot of the Zen temple Tentoku-in, in the nineteenth century. One morning he heard the dawn bell being rung and after a little he called his attendant from the next room and asked. ‘Who is ringing the bell this morning?’
The attendant said it was a newly entered boy. The abbot later called the boy and asked, ‘When you rang the dawn bell today, what were you thinking about?’
‘Nothing special. I was just ringing the bell.’
The abbot said, ‘No, there must have been something in your mind. Well anyway, when you ring the bell, always do it as you did today. It was no ordinary ringing.’
Then the boy said, ‘I once heard that whatever we do, it must be service of the Buddha. I was told to meditate on the things as Buddha. So this morning I was thinking that the bell is Buddha, and that each time I rang it the Buddha’s voice is sounding out. Each time I was making a bow, and I felt I was ringing it as a worship.’
The abbot said, ‘That was a fine teaching that you heard. Whatever you do later in life, do it like that.’
This boy later became the head of the great Eiheiji training temple his name was Dengo Morita.