In our practice, we often refer to the phrase – “Changing Poison into Medicine”.
What is Poison? ‘Anything that harms or destroys’
And medicine is ‘Something that treats or prevents or alleviates a disease’
In Buddhism, the three poisons are Greed, Anger and Foolishness. They are fundamental evils inherent in our lives, which give rise to human suffering.
Buddhism teaches us that suffering derives from karma, the causes that we ourselves have created. The Buddhist teaching of karma is one of personal responsibility. And the strong belief is that even the most deeply entrenched karmic patterns can be transformed.
Any unfavourable situation can be changed into a source of value, by challenging and overcoming that circumstance. And thus grow as human beings.
We need to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY – To transform sufferings or obstacles into value-creating experiences
The process of changing poison into medicine begins when we approach difficult experiences as an opportunity to reflect on ourselves and to strengthen and develop our courage & compassion
The more we are able to do this the more we grow in our vitality and wisdom => Expansive life state
SUFFERING can thus serve as a SPRINGBOARD for deeper experience of HAPPINESS
Daishonin’s Philosophy declares that Infinite Potential of Buddhahood exists within every person and every moment and leads us on to the path to bring forth that potential.
By Chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo we manifest our Buddhahood and in times of hardships and difficulties instead of basing our actions on the three poisons or karmic tendencies, we base it on our Buddha Nature that comprises of Wisdom, Courage and Compassion and thus continue joyfully on the path of human revolution.
If in times of hardship we are defeated by suffering or respond to challenging circumstances with actions arising from our fundamental darkness the original poison shall never be transformed and remains a poison.
The battle we must ultimately win, is that between our Buddha Nature and our Fundamental Darkness. Buddhism teaches that self-knowledge ultimately is awareness of our own infinite potential, and our capacity for inner strength, wisdom and compassion.
To summarise – How we respond to life’s inevitable sufferings is the key even if we face the most difficult problems or obstacles in our lives
In its most fundamental sense, “changing poison into medicine” refers to the transformation of ‘Deluded impulses’ into ‘Enlightenment’