Nichiren Daishonin, the founder of Nichiren Shoshu, wrote in his Gosho, On First Hearing the One Vehicle of the Buddha (February 28, 1278)*
What is poison? Poison indicates our three paths of earthly desires, karma and suffering.
What is medicine? Medicine indicates the three virtues [of the Buddha]: the property of the Law, wisdom, and emancipation.
What is meant by “skillfully turning poison into medicine?” It means to transform the three paths into the three virtues. The Great Teacher Tiantai stated “Myo means inscrutable …” He also stated, “One’s mind is … an objective reality that is inscrutable.” This corresponds to the attainment of enlightenment in one’s present form.
Changing poison into medicine is a fundamental concept in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. The Japanese term is “hendoku iyaku.”
What is Karma? Lecture
This Sunday, May 17th, our Chief Priest will lecture on Karma and the concept of “hendoku iyaku,” changing poison into medicine. The meeting begins at 2:00 pm. If you have questions, please call or email the Temple.
*Excerpted from Selected Gosho Passages of Nichiren Daishonin, p.35.