April 8th marks the Japanese Buddhist holiday of hanamatsuri also known as the Buddha’s birthday.1 Hanamatsuri literally means “flower festival” as tradition holds that flowers were scattered at the birth of the Buddha.
For today, I just wanted to pass along something I discovered recently2 in the Lotus Sutra chapter 14 (Reeves translation) that I just thought sounded nice and fitting for the occasion:
With great compassion
He [the Buddha] transforms the world
According to the Dharma.
He sees all human beings
In suffering and agony,
And fighting against the devils.
For all these living beings
He has taught various things,
And as a great skillful means
Has taught these sutras [discourses].
And when he knows that the living
Have gained strength through them,
At last, for their sake,
He teaches this Dharma Flower.
Namo Shakyamuni Buddha
1 Much of Asia celebrates the same holiday, but using the traditional lunar calendar date of the 8th day of the 4th month. When Japan converted to the Western calendar, this became April 8th.
2 While sitting in the waiting room of the dentist office of all places…