Bell and Drum

On either side of the Main Shrine, you will find the Bell and the Drum.

 

Gong The gongs in Chinese Temples are sounded 108 times, in lots of 18 and at varying speeds.  108 is considered to be a very auspicious number.  
 
It is also said that sentient beings have 108 types of worries.  Therefore, the gong is used to evoke these in everyone and to eradicate the 108 karmas.

 

The drum is hit steadily in a combination of fast and slow paces creating a sound of roaring thunder.
 
If your listen very carefully you will be able to recognize sounds of the wind, rain, and thunder.  These sounds signify timely wind and rain or good weather and national prosperity.
Drum

 

Both the gong and the drum are among the most important Dharma instruments in a temple.  In Buddha's time, the gong and drum were used to gather everyone and announce such things as meal times, Dharma talks, time to wake up and go to bed.  This continued in many Temples as a way to communicate before the advanced technology we have today.
 
The enormous drum and gong are found hanging under the eaves on either side of the Main Shrine.  Nan Tien Temple abides by the Monastery traditions and sounds the gong & drum every morning at 6am and afternoon at 4.30pm to open and close each day.  In the evening, the drum is hit first and then the gong is sounded.  The order is reversed in the morning.  They are sounded with a solemn, sincere and greatly compassionate heart.