This Daimoku possesses the great benefit to open up the path to happiness for all the people and to block the path to fall into hell.
written by Nichiren Daishonin, 13th century Japan
With many of us staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety and uncertainty is high. The Buddhist practice of chanting lets you control sufferings in your life, like too much anxiety, by making new causes to acquire the wisdom of the Buddha. Visit our web site to learn more about Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism.
In all forms of Buddhism in Japan, the equinox is very significant. During the vernal (usually March 21) and autumnal (usually September 23) equinoxes, the length of the daylight and darkness in a day is exactly the same, and the sun rises due east and sets directly in the west. Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist Temples perform the Higan-e Ceremony on these days as a Buddhist practice for accumulating benefits and amassing virtue in the lives of the believer and the deceased.
The word “higan” is a translation of the Sanskrit word “paramita” and it means “arriving on the other shore.” It signifies “getting across.” Buddhism teaches that the world in which we live, called the impure world or saha realm (literally realm of endurance), is a place of suffering and troubles. In this schema, the saha world is located on this side of the shore. The source of all suffering — the three paths of earthly desires, karma and suffering — is likened to a great river. The life condition of enlightenment is likened to the other shore. In order to cross from the impure world, over the life and death sufferings of the great river, and reach the pure land on the other shore, people must embark upon the boat of the Buddha’s teachings.
At the Higan-e ceremony, Myosenji Temple members offer Toba Memorial Tablets for their ancestors and friends. To learn more about why we offer Toba Memorial tablets, read more here.
Not far from Myosenji Temple (Silver Spring, MD), the first ever Japanese cherry trees in the United States were planted in 1906. David Fairchild, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official, imported one hundred flowering cherry trees and planted them on his property in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
The success of his blossoms set in motion a series of events that lead to the gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city of Washington. This gift included trees from a nursery called “Myo-Ka-en”(妙華園) which was adjacent to Myokoji Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist Temple (sister temple to Myosenji). It is of note that the Japanese characters Myo (mystic) and Ka (flower, but also “ge” in word “renge”) were used to title this property. Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Fifty-nine varieties of cherry tree scions from Tokyo were grafted at this nursery which were sent to Washington.
Myo-Ka-en nursery closed in 1921 but Myokoji Buddhist Temple still stands today with the same cherry trees we see in the Tidal Basin. Somei-Yoshino cherry trees grace Myokoji Temple (Tokyo), the Tidal Basin and Myosenji Temple (Silver Spring, MD).
The most vital thing is to chant Daimoku with the correct posture, reverently looking at the Gohonzon with your eyes wide open. If your eyes wander here and there, or your body is crooked, or you hold your hands in a slipshod manner, that is proof that you are already losing the spirit of Buddhist practice.
67th High Priest Nikken Shonin
Enlightenment for oneself alone is not the aim of the Lotus Sutra. According to the principle of the oneness of self and others, the reason each individual is able to exist at the present moment is due to the many influences of others. We are able to exist only because of connections to others: to parents and ancestors, teachers, friends, neighbors, society, the nation and the environment. In fact, we owe our existence to everything, both the tangible and the intangible. One who is awakened to this feels gratitude for all living beings, and to all existence.
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To help your Buddhist practice, visit our YouTube channel and review some of our basics of practice. Share with others and keep and grow feelings of gratitude and appreciation for others in our lives.
How can you doubt that they will attain the stage of enlightenment? (The Lotus Sutra) states, “After I have passed into extinction, one should accept and uphold this sutra. There is no doubt that such a person is assured to attain the Buddha way.” The same sutra states, “If one hears the Law for even a single moment, he will be able to attain perfect enlightenment.”
written by Nichiren Daishonin, 13th century Japan
People everywhere, when confronted with hardships, sorrows or difficulties, ponder over the fastest and easiest way to solve or to overcome these problems. Yet it is never simple nor easy to discover the root cause of sufferings in human life. Buddhism teaches you how to fundamentally overcome the basic universal sufferings of being born, of old age, sickness and death as well as doubts and disillusions that plague mankind.*