boingo, I have found some information on Buddhist Taiko Drums that might interest you:
from Buddhist Taiko
by Reverend Arthur Takemoto (BCA Reverend Emeritus)
The use of musical instruments, such as the taiko is common to the Buddhist tradition.
The uniqueness of Buddhist taiko comes from its being developed by Japanese American Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, inculcating the Japanese, Indian, American Indian, and Afro-American influences into its pieces. Because of this background, Buddhist Taiko is quite different from Matsuri Taiko (Festival Taiko) that is commonly practiced in Japan.
As mentioned before, it is not unusual to find a drum at a Buddhist Temple. These drums are called "Ho-ko" or "Dharma Drum." These drums symbolize the "commanding voice of the Buddha."1 Given this "meaning" of the drum, the expression of Buddhist Taiko is also unique because it becomes a way in which one can enjoy the Buddha-Dharma, or what is referred to as "Horaku (joy or delight of the Dharma)." In Buddhist Taiko, the drum, from its "Ho-ko" meaning, becomes the Buddha, the true reality of Namo Amida Butsu or the calling name of Amida Buddha that sounds throughout the ten directions of the Universe. The drummer becomes part of the Sangha or the body of "players" that despite their delusions or attachments to the world of birth and death (samsara) become able to hear Namo Amida Butsu together. The bachi, or sticks used to hit the drum, becomes the Dharma or the link between the realm of enlightenment and the human realm of birth and death.
Buddhist Taiko, then, becomes the three treasures of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha working and revealing itself to us. Because of this fact, the joy that can be found in taiko becomes the joy of hearing the Buddha-Dharma. To perform becomes an expression of one’s joy and gratitude at being able to hear and receive that which is most difficult to hear and receive. It is for this reason that this joy, Horaku, is accompanied by a sense of deep respect and reverence. For example, one notes that the beginning of a performance often begins with the blowing of the Hora (conch shell). This signals the movement of one’s entering into the path of the Dharma (the voice of the Buddha-Dharma), and the performers will put their hands together in gassho with the bachi held between the thumb and index finger and bow with reverence and repeat Namo Amida Butsu.
On the other hand, however, when one disregards the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, disharmony and discord result. This is reflected in the performance. The performance becomes filled with ego, and the harmony that can be found in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha disappears. Hence, Buddhist Taiko represents the beauty and joy of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha working harmoniously, or represents the discord that can result when the ego works in opposition to the Buddha and Dharma and becomes more important than the Sangha.
As a means of Jodo Shinshu Buddhist propagation, the primary purpose and goal of each taiko player and the listener is to teach and learn the Dharma by being embraced in both body and mind to the three treasures of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.