Once a cloud of massive size
rose up high into the skies
over all the realms below
where the beings come and go,
like a canopy of wool…
Wisdom’s moisture filled it full.
Rays of lightning brightly flashed.
Peals of thunder loudly crashed.
Happiness hung in the air,
as the rain fell everywhere
equally upon the ground,
making living things abound.
Nourishment of grass and trees,
flourishment of birds and bees
on the mountainsides and plains
were some virtues from the rains.
Whether plants were big or small,
medium, or short, or tall—
each, according to its height,
was supplied exactly right
for its own precise demands.
Woods and groves throughout the lands
flowered with their fruits and blooms,
spreading nature’s sweet perfumes.
Though the earth which had been dry
found all soil besprinkled by
one same rain that streams disperse,
still the flora was diverse.
Here medicinal herbs grew
of diversified types too;
some superior, others
less, yet, of one another’s
capability to grow,
this they simply didn’t know,
plus especially of their
true aspect were unaware.
As with the ascending cloud,
likewise Nichiren avowed
that enlightenment will flow
from Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,
if this theme and title key
we recite regularly.
For our lives, while each distinct,
to this karmic cause are linked
and shall manifest indeed
all that we might ever need
of protection, peace, and gain—
similarly to the rain
on the meadows arable
mentioned in this parable,
so to singularly praise
that sole all-embracing phrase.
~ Harley White
* * * * * * * * * *
The Buddhist parable in the poem is expounded and explained in “The Fifth Chapter on The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs”. Below are relevant excerpts from the book
The Dharma Flower Sutra Seen through the Oral Transmission of Nichiren Daishōnin, translated and explained by Martin Bradley,
and on the website dharmagateway.org.
* * * * * * * * * *
The First and Introductory Chapter of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Myōhō Renge Kyō) teaches how the Buddha
was about to explain the all-embracing Dharma and was going to make the rain of this all-embracing Dharma come streaming down.
Now, at the time of this particular Chapter on the Parable of the Medicinal Herbs, this sutra makes it clear how this “one
and the same rain” irrigates and waters all the plants and trees. The rain that nourishes all the vegetation is the same
rain of the all-embracing Dharma (Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō)… “The oneness of the soil”, when
correlated with the title of the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma”
(Myōhō Renge Kyō), is specified by the word “Utterness” or Myō.
“The soil is moistened by the one and the same rain” is an analogy to express the idea of existence as such, without any
distinctions whatsoever. The phrase “each one of these plants and trees is different” refers to existences that
are differentiated according to their karma. Therefore, the concept of existence without any distinctions is its Utterness
(Myō) or the totality of existence itself, whereas existences that are differentiated according to their separate
karmas are referred to as dharmas.
Now when Nichiren and his followers reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, they are putting aside all differentiation.
“The oneness of the soil” is the vast dimension that involves the teachings that are derived from the external events of
Shākyamuni’s life and work (provisional teachings), and “the one and the same rain” is the undeniable fact of
the sky that is the original archetypal teaching (Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō). “The oneness of the soil” points
to the idea of plants coming out of the earth, which has the undertone of cause.
Now, those who follow Nichiren and are fully aware of the implications of Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō [which means to devote
our lives to and found them on (Nam) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) (entirety of existence,
enlightenment and unenlightenment) permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause,
concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten (psychological) realms of dharmas (Kyō)] are
those who conform to the Buddha enlightenment of Nichiren, who in turn praises them.
* * * * * * * * * *
Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam[u]) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) [entirety of existence, enlightenment and unenlightenment] permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten [psychological] realms of dharmas [which is every possible psychological wavelength] (Kyō).