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Parinirvana Day

This day, held on the full moon of February, marks the death of the Buddha.

Strange as it may seem, Buddhists celebrate the death of the Buddha. His death came when he was eighty years old and had spent some forty years teaching after his Enlightenment. What is more, the notion that all things are impermanent is central to Buddhist teaching and, for Buddhists, loss and impermanence are things to be accepted rather than just being causes of pain and grief. The Maha-parinibbana Sutta gives a moving and dignified account of the Buddha’s last days and passages from it are often read on Parinirvana Day.

The day is used as an opportunity to reflect on the fact of one’s own future death and on people whom one has known who have recently died. Meditations are done for the recently deceased to give them help and support wherever they might be now.

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