A Birthday Party To Remember

Happy Birthday CharlotteWhat a lovely day, the weather was kind to us, it didn’t rain, the sun did shine for a while and it was a lovely party for my eldest daughter today.

Now turning 30 is not generally a particularly happy day for people. These landmark birthdays simply serve to remind us that time stops for nobody. But in the current circumstances, with Charlotte recovering from cancer, reaching another birthday is something to celebrate with gusto.

Within weeks Charlotte will also give birth to our fourth grandchild, another reason for celebration. All positive, all going in the right direction and Charlotte has been amazing throughout. Happy birthday Charlotte, we all love you so very much.

Of course, birthdays have always been a reason for celebration, here is a letter from Nichiren Daishonin written in 1271 …

The Birth of Tsukimaro

I UNDERSTAND that your baby has been born. Congratulations! In particular, today is the eighth day of the month. Not only have you had your baby, but on such an auspicious day! The fulfilment of your wish is now complete, just like the tide at the high watermark or the blossoming of flowers in a spring meadow. Thus, I have wasted no time in giving her a name. Please call her Tsukimaro.

What is more, Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, the sovereign deity of this country, was born on the eighth day of the fourth month. Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings in this saha world, was also born on the eighth day of the fourth month. Though the month is different, your baby girl was also born on the eighth day. She could well be the reincarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha or Hachiman. Since I am an ordinary man, I have no way of knowing for certain, but I am convinced that the reason for this auspicious birth is that I gave you the protective agent. How happy you, her parents, must be! In celebration, you have kindly sent me rice cakes, sake, and one thousand coins. I have also reported this to the object of devotion and the ten demon daughters.

When the Buddha was born in this world, there were thirty-two auspicious phenomena, as is recorded in a work called The Record of Wonders in the Book of Chou. Immediately following his birth, Shakyamuni Buddha took seven steps, opened his mouth, and uttered the words, expressed in sixteen characters, “Throughout heaven and earth, I alone am worthy of respect. The three- fold world is a place of suffering from which I will save all living beings.” Tsukimaro must have chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with her very first cry at birth. The Lotus Sutra speaks of “the true aspect of all phenomena.” T’ien-t’ai said, “Voices do the Buddha’s work.” This is also what I think. The deaf cannot hear the thunder, and the blind cannot see the light of the sun and moon. But I am quite certain that the ten demon daughters must be together side by side, giving the baby her first bath and watching over her growth.

Let me heartily congratulate you. I can imagine your joy. I have respectfully reported this to the ten demon daughters and to the Sun Goddess. I am too excited to write any more. I will be writing you again.


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