Myosenji Buddhist Temple’s cherry blossoms remind us of the core Buddhist doctrine of oneness. At the time of our founder Nichiren Daishonin’s death in 13th century Japan, there was an earthquake as the cherry trees bloomed out of season, teaching us the Buddhist concept of oneness. The oneness of the common mortal and Buddha. The oneness of life and its environment, the oneness of body and mind and the oneness of death and birth cannot be separated from each other. At the moment of the True Buddha’s physical death, the earth shook in farewell, but the cherry trees bloomed out of season in welcome. Thus, the Daishonin’s passing reveals the principle of oneness.
Nichiren Daishonin is the founder of Nichiren Shoshu. He passed away on October 13, 1282. We celebrate the eternal life of Nichiren Daishonin with the Oeshiki Ceremony in October. The Head Temple Taiseki-ji as well as local temples, like Myosenji Temple, decorate the altar with colorful paper cherry blossoms.
Myosenji Temple has a unique and special connection to Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossoms.
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).
“In the final analysis, this sutra of Myoho-Renge-Kyo sums up all the teachings and meditational practices of Shakyamuni Buddha’s entire lifetime in a single moment of life, and encompasses all the living beings of the Ten Worlds and their environments in the three thousand realms.” Nichiren Daishonin, Conversation Between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man (I) Gosho (MW5 – p.80) [written in 13th century Japan]
The Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai of China, basing his work on the Lotus Sutra, established the theoretical building blocks for the three thousand realms in a single life-moment. One of the blocks is the concept of the Ten Worlds – Hell, Hunger, Animality, Asura, Humanity, Rapture, Learning, Realization, Bodhisattva and Buddhahood. All human beings possess the Ten Worlds and can go from one of them to another within a single life-moment.
This Sunday, February 27th, Rev. Sakabe will be giving an online lecture of the Ten Worlds where guests can learn the basics of Buddhism.REGISTER TODAY.