This Sunday is Memorial Day in the United States. Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists offer toba memorial tablets for the benefit of the deceased. The word “toba” is Japanese for the word stupa in Sanskrit. The original form of a stupa in ancient India was that of a burial mound. Many different forms of stupas developed over the years in both India and China. The five-story pagoda is one of the most commonly known forms of a stupa.
In Nichiren Shoshu, the toba memorial tablet also takes the form of five levels. The five levels signify the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and space. The bottom level of the toba is shaped like a square. This represents earth. The second level is in the shape of a circle, representing water. The third level, denoting fire, is a triangle. The fourth level, in the shape of a semicircle represents wind. At the top of the toba is the level representing space or ku. It is shaped like a jewel signifying the “treasure of fulfillment.” Nichiren Daishonin taught that all phenomena in the universe are composed of these five elements. This, of course, includes the human body. Therefore, the toba signifies the body of the deceased.
You can read more about the Toba Memorial Tablet, the Memorial Altar and Memorial Ceremonies in the book, Nichiren Shoshu Basics of Practice.
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).
Families and children are encouraged to include a visit to a Japanese Buddhist Temple to spark learning of Buddhism and appreciation for the deep connection between Tokyo, Japan and Washington, DC made possible by cherry blossoms.
REGISTER for this Sunday’s (March 28th) Introductory meeting. Hear our Chief Priest lecture on how Buddhist practice can activate your Buddha nature to become happier and more compassionate.
Online Intro meeting begins at 2pm. Live Stream opens 1:50pm. Both members and guests need to register. Registration closes on Saturday, March 27th at 6pm. Register now and you will be sent the link to the Live Stream Intro at 1pm on Sunday, March 28th via email/text.
Now in the Latter Day of the Law, neither the Lotus Sutra nor the other sutras lead to enlightenment; only Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo can do so. And this is not merely my own opinion. Shakyamuni, Taho, and all the other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions as well as the innumerable Bodhisattvas of the Earth have so determined . . . . A lamp will be useless after the sun rises. How can dewdrops be beneficial once the rain falls?
written by Nichiren Daishonin, 13th century Japan
In the “Sutra of Infinite Meaning” (Muryogi Sutra), Shakyamuni Buddha made it clear that, although he had been preaching the Law for forty-two years, he had until then revealed only the provisional teachings in preparation for the Lotus Sutra. He preached the Lotus Sutra during the final eight years of his life. What is this Truth which was only revealed for the first time in the Lotus Sutra? *
To hear the answer to the above question, REGISTER for Sunday’s (Feb 28th) ONLINE meeting. Myosenji Temple will host a brief video presentation and lecture by our Chief Priest, Rev Sakabe, on Buddhism’s Beliefs. Learn how Buddhism’s truth can answer your most pressing questions.
Learn how to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and properly use the Juzu Beads, Buddhist prayer beads.
Q&A with our Chief Priest.
The meeting starts at 2:00 pm and concludes around 3:00 pm. Open to the public.
[In the Lotus Sutra …] these passages teach that upon looking at people, we see they are unhappy and lost in melancholy. They shut their minds in the dark, and are burned by the fire of the three poisons of greed, anger, and stupidity. They can’t escape their many desires, and in their suffering, they are shackled tightly by their own ego, with which they seek treasure and profit. For this reason, amidst their suffering, they may experience some pleasure, but afterward, they will experience the suffering of the three evil paths of hell, hunger, and animality. Even though they are born in the worlds of rapture or humanity, their hearts are truly corrupt. Consequently, they will undergo distress, trouble, and suffering, from having to part from those they love, and having to meet those whom they hate. Yet in spite of these sufferings, they surrender themselves, fearless, indulging in transient pleasures. They do not try to escape this suffering, even though they are inside the burning house of the threefold world—the world of desire, the world of form, and the world of formlessness. They do not worry about facing great difficulty, but simply amuse themselves by scampering from east to west.
Excerpted: High Priest Nichinyo Shonin Lecture, The Burning House of the Threefold World.
ONLINE INTRODUCTORY MEETING: The Ten Worlds – Making Sense of our Muddy Pond
The Buddhist Concept of the Ten Worlds explains the muddy pond we live in and why we circle endlessly in the six lower paths unable to be happy. REGISTER for this Sunday’s (Feb 21st), to hear our Chief Priest lecture on how Buddhist practice can lift you into the world of Buddhahood.
Online Intro meeting begins at 2pm. Live Stream opens 1:50pm. Both members and guests need to register. Registration closes on Saturday, February 20th at 6pm. Register now and you will be sent the link to the Live Stream Intro at 1pm on Sunday, Feb 21st via email/text.