Reciting Namo AmiTuoFo with the Muyi
Getting to a better understanding of the Buddhist sutra chanting practice at the Pu Tuo Si temple (普陀寺).
Pu Tuo Si (alternatively written as Puh Toh Tze) is a Chinese Buddhist temple located just off Jalan Tuaran (road), nearby the Kolombong junction of Jalan Lintas Highway.
Muyi (木魚), wooden fish, is a Buddhist percussion instrument primarily used by devotees of the Mahayana Buddhist branch. Mahayana Buddhism, better known to the Chinese as Ch’an (禪) or Zen Buddhism, is mainly associated with countries such as China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. The one you see often as practised in Thailand or Sri Lanka constitutes another branch of Buddhism referred to collectively as the Theravada school.
A wooden fish (Chinese: 木魚, pinyin: mùyú), (Vietnamese: mộc ngư), (Japanese: mokugyo (木魚)), (Korean: moktak 목탁), (Tibetan: ཤིང་ཉ།, shingnya) is sometimes known as a Chinese block. The wooden fish is used by monks and laity in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It is often used during rituals usually involving the recitation of sutras, mantras, or other Buddhist texts. In most Zen/Ch’an Buddhist traditions, the wooden fish serves to keep the rhythm during sutra chanting. In Pure Land Buddhism, it is used when chanting the name of Amitabha (Amituofo).
So, what exactly is the purpose of a “Woodenfish?” Obviously it is not for feasting, considering the amount of seafood the locals here are chomping through everyday. Oh yeah, seafood is the number one food over here. We would pay over the top just to have a taste of that exotic delicacy. Oops, going off tangent again. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. According to the ‘Fo Guang Shan’ masters, the Woodenfish keeps the mind in equilibrium and set forth the tempo so a group of people can chant in unison. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna…… A common sight & sound in Europe, I believe.
The Woodenfish also symbolizes community, wakefulness, and unceasing awareness.
Although I do not profess to be a Buddhist, I do occasionally attend the recital of Sutras, especially on Chinese New Year’s Eves. The soothing & tranquil, rhythmic sound of the sutra reciting does give you a sense of inner peace, taking you away from this troubled world. Then……., oh no, it’s ‘come back down to earth again’ once it’s over and done with. Such is life. There’s no escape.
Pu Tuo Si Temple is in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
The origin of Muyi as told in a legend.
Buddhist Relaxation Music
Get Out Clause
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