The bell is considered butsugu or a Buddhist accessory used to make offerings to the Gohonzon. When we ring the bell, we should do so with sincerity and serenity as we make an offering of sound to the Gohonzon.
The bell is used during our morning and evening prayers called Gongyo. When we place offerings on the altar (food, rice, water), we ring the bell three times and observe this silent prayer:
“I offer deepest gratitude to the Three Treasures of the Buddhism of Sowing. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.” (p. 43, Basics of Practice, 2008)
Ringing the bell three times signifies appreciation for the Three Treasures – The Buddha – Nichiren Daishonin; The Law – Nam Myoho Renge Kyo; and the Priesthood – Nikko Shonin and successive High Priests.
Other articles on the Buddhist Altar:
Reference: Daily Care of the Gohonzon, Nichiren Shoshu Monthly Magazine, November, 1997, p.7.