Type of Spiritual Experience
Large bells were a common part of Shinto temples. The picture below by Hiroshige shows a Temple compound on a hill and comes with the poem
When it sounds
The bell of the Lotus sect
Seems to stir even the leaves on the trees
Announcing the sunset at Ikegami temple
Now this can have a literal meaning of course, but most of Hiroshige’s paintings are also symbolic.
If we take the symbolism as well, a bell is also a cone and a musical instrument. Thus when whoever it was representing the bell was ‘played’, he becomes quite powerful. Thus by implication ‘the bell of the Lotus sect’ was a person, and a powerful person at that if all the symbolism is taken into account.