Great assembly of monks gassho, chant Verse upon Hearing the Meal Signal, and Verse for Setting Out Bowls:
Buddha was born in Kapilavastu, enlightened in Magadha, taught in Varanasi, entered nirvana in Kushinagara.
Now we set out Buddha’s bowls;
may we, with all living beings,
realize the emptiness of the three wheels:
giver, receiver, and gift.
Monks of great assembly gassho and lower heads and, using both hands, undo covering cloth in which oryoki is wrapped.
First, take out bowl wiping cloth (a dishcloth; a cloth about 36 centimeters—14 inches—square, with edges that are rolled over and stitched), fold it in half horizontally, then in thirds vertically; lay it on top of utensil bag (chopsticks bag) and set bag down horizontally in front of knees.
Next, unfold wiping cloth (apron cloth) and cover knees.
Then open covering cloth, letting farthest corner of it hang over platform edge; other three corners should be tucked under slightly.
Next, using both hands, open placemat (underlay for bowls). Turn right hand palm-down and hold near edge of placemat in such a way as to cover oryoki; with left hand, raise bowls above placemat. Then lay placemat on covering cloth and immediately set oryoki down on left side of mat.
Next, using both thumbs, remove and arrange nested bowls on placemat, beginning with smallest and proceeding in order. (Usual manner is to remove fourth nested bowl and third nested bowl together, setting them on right side of placemat; then remove second nested bowl and set it on top of them; next take head bowl, i.e. first nested bowl, and set it in center.)
Next, pick up utensil bag and take out spoon and chopsticks. To do this, first take bag and push spoon and chopsticks out slightly; then fold bag in thirds toward outside and hold it with left hand while right hand removes chopsticks, followed by spoon (when removing utensils take chopsticks first, when putting them away insert spoon first); set utensils down horizontally behind number one bowl (in front of knees), handle pointing left, spoon face up. (After meal, utensils are set down handle pointing right, spoon face down; this signifies “upwards, seeking enlightenment” at the beginning, and “downwards, saving all living beings” at the end.)
Next, place bowl swab perpendicularly between number one bowl and number two bowl, with handle of swab facing outward.
Next, with utensils bag still folded in thirds, put it under bowl wiping cloth (dishcloth) and set them down together, horizontally, on near side of place mat. With this, setting out bowls is done.