The signal for setting out bowls (tenpatsu 展鉢) at the start of a formal meal is a blow on an octangular wooden block made by a "mallet" (tsui 槌). The great assembly of monks then gassho and chant:
Buddha was born in Kapilavastu,
attained the way in Magadha,
preached the dharma in Vārāνasī,
and entered nirvana in Kuśinagara.
bus-sho kabira 佛生迦毘羅
jo do makada 成道摩掲陀
sep-po harana 説法波羅奈
nyu metsu kuchira 入滅拘絺羅
For a discussion of these four episodes in the traditional life of Shakamuni Buddha and the significance given them in Soto Zen, see ☞ "Shakamuni."