Thursday, July 25, 2013

Turning Poison Into Medicine and Building Fortune in Our Lives

A pond on my daily walk - can you see the koi fish? 

In For Today and Tomorrow,  Daisaku Ikeda's passage for today, July 25th reads:

"Buddhism is, in a sense, 
an eternal struggle 
between the Buddha and demons, 
in other words, 
a contest between positive and negative forces. 
If we are never assailed by negative influences, 
we cannot be said 
to be truly practicing Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism. 
Buddhist practice 
lies in bravely facing and overcoming adversity." 

I feel so fortunate to be practicing this philosophy. I mean, our perspectives on life, as Nichiren Daishonin's practitioners is so completely POSITIVE. We greet problems themselves as benefits. There is nothing that cannot be turned into a positive. Every single challenge you are facing, if you truly FACE it, and chant about it, will be turned into a benefit for your life. This is the essence of the principle of "turning poison into medicine," one of my favorite Buddhist concepts. 

Yesterday was a sparkling day for me. In the morning I was on the radio talking about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and I'll share the link so you can listen. Then I got further good news and I sprang out of my chair in happiness, and felt a little pop in my calf and fell onto the rug and was really a bit upset. I called the doctor's office and they said to go the emergency room. (Yikes!) I called my son Aaron, who just finished his first year in medical school, and it was my great fortune that he had changed his plans to take a long bike ride downtown because it was too windy. He was available and came right over. 

We talk about the term "FORTUNE" in Buddhism. "Fortune" is something money cannot buy. Fortune is gained through assiduous Buddhist practice. Fortune is being in the right place at the right time. It is things that just work out in your favor as if the protective forces of the universe, the "shoten zenjin," as we call them, are truly looking out for you. In reality, fortune comes from the human revolution we have all undertaken through chanting every morning and evening. 

(I have mentioned before that one of my greatest fortunes is that when my son chose the BEST medical school for his life, it happened to be the closest Medical School to my house. That is fortune. Money can't buy that!)

So Aaron came over and looked at my leg and assured me that I did not need to run out to the emergency room, and that it may just be a bit of a pulled muscle that will entirely heal on it's own. (Several years ago I did go to the emergency room with something that turned out to be a new allergy to a food, but felt like a heart attack. That cost me almost $2,000 in fees even with insurance!)
Needless to say I was very happy not to have to go to the hospital yesterday. I spent a nice afternoon on the patio with my son instead, and hosted a great SGI District Meeting last night. Today my leg does feel better.  

Our ongoing, daily practice of Buddhism reveals itself in benefits every moment of the is up to us to be aware of them. 
What problems have you had that you have turned into benefits with your practice? 

I'm sure the readers would love to hear. 
Please email me at and send a picture too. (Or I can publish anonymously if you wish) 

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