Wooden Fish (excerpt from Understading Buddhism, Venerable Master Chin Kung)

Wooden Fish, is a wooden percussion instrument similar to the Western wood block.In Japanese call Mokugyo, In Chinese call Muyu (木魚), In Korean call Moktak. The wooden fish is used by Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It is used during rituals usually involving recitation of sutras, mantras, or other Buddhist texts. The wooden fish is mainly used by Buddhist disciples in China, Japan and Korea. In Zen/Ch'an Buddhism, it serves as a signal to start and end a meditation session, and in Pure Land Buddhism, it is used to chant the name of Amitabha Buddha.In Buddhism the fish, which never sleeps, symbolizes wakefulness. Therefore, it is to remind the chanting Buddhist to be concentrate on their sutra.
The other is literally in the shape of a fish. It is found suspending in front of the dining hall of a Buddhist monastery. When having breakfast and lunch, the monks beat it call all monastics and laity to eat.
Glossary
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