What is Nirvana Day?

Nirvana Day is an annual Buddhist festival that remembers the death of the Buddha when he reached Nirvana at the age of 80.

Nirvana is believed to be the end of the cycle of death and rebirth. Buddhism teaches that Nirvana is reached when all want and suffering is gone.

When is Nirvana Day?

Most Buddhists celebrate Nirvana Day on the 15 February. Others celebrate it on 8 February. It is also known as Parinirvana Day.

Four Noble Truths

The Buddha attained Nirvana when he came to understand the Four Noble Truths. These are:

  • Life involves suffering
  • Suffering is due to having desires
  • Suffering can be ended by overcoming desires
  • The way to end suffering is by following the Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path is often represented as a wheel, known as the Wheel of Dharma. 'Dharma' is an ancient Sanskrit word used to refer to the the Buddha's teachings.

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What is meditation?

Buddhists believe meditation is very important for well being. It is a way to clear the mind and encourage positive thinking.

To meditate you need to find a quiet area where you can concentrate. There are lots of different ways of meditating. Some people sit on a cushion with their legs crossed and focus on breathing deeply. Others attend classes and learn different techniques.

How is Nirvana Day celebrated?

Buddhists may celebrate Nirvana Day by meditating or by going to Buddhist temples or monasteries.

In monasteries, Nirvana Day is treated as a social occasion. Food is prepared and some people bring presents such as money, household goods or clothes.

On Nirvana Day, Buddhists think about their lives and how they can gain the perfect peace of Nirvana. They remember friends or relations who have recently died. They reflect on the fact that death is a part of life for everyone.

The idea that nothing stays the same is important to Buddhism. Buddhists believe that loss and change are things to be accepted rather than causes of sadness.

Mandala colouring activity

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What is Nirvana Day?