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Nirvana Day

Parinirvana

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Mahayana Buddhist Monument in Indonesia
Otto Stadler/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Parinirvana — Nirvana Day — is observed primarily by Mahayana Buddhists, most commonly on February 15th. The day commemorates the death of the historical Buddha and his entry into Nirvana.

Nirvana Day is a time for contemplation of the Buddha’s teachings. Some monasteries and temples hold meditation retreats. Others open their doors to laypeople, who bring gifts of money and household goods to support monks and nuns.

About Nirvana

The word Nirvana means "to extinguish," such as extinguishing the flame of a candle. Some schools of Buddhism explain Nirvana as a state of bliss or peace, and this state may be experienced in life, or it may be entered into at death. The Buddha taught that Nirvana was beyond human imagination, and so speculation about what Nirvana is like is foolish.

Read More: What Is Nirvana?

The Death of the Buddha

The Buddha died at the age of 80 in the company of his monks. As recorded in the Parinibbana Sutta, the Buddha knew his life was at an end, and he assured his monks that he had withheld no spiritual teaching from them. He urged them to maintain the teachings so that they would continue to help people through the ages to come.

Finally he said, “All conditioned things are subject to decay. Strive for your liberation with diligence.” Those were his last words.

Read More: What the Buddha taught.

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