Nirvana Day is the day on which Sakyamuni Buddha passed away, entering Parinirvana and thus culminating 80 years of life, including the last 45 years spent in the propagation of the Buddha-Dharma.
The Sanskirt word Nirvana literally means “blown out or extinguished,” the extinction of worldly illusions and passions. Parinirvana refers to complete extinction or to Sakyamuni Buddha’s passing. The doctrine of Nirvana is closely associated with the condition of Samsara, the ocean of Birth-and-Death, from which it brings liberation. Samsara is in no way to be distinguished from Nirvana; Nirvana is in no way to be distinguished from Samsara. We are restricted in our thinking until we have fully realized that Samsara is identical with Nirvana, that there is no real separation between the self and Ultimate Reality, and that the Knower and Known are one.
With his own life, the Buddha provides us with an example of what a blessing it can be to believe in the Dharma, how to live in this illusory world filled with suffering and sorrow, and how to associate with our fellow men. In commemoration of Sakyamuni Buddha’s Parinirvana, let us take the time to look within and reflect upon ourselves from the standpoint of our limited abilities and strive to take even a small step toward the Buddhist goal of attaining the Perfect Peace of Nirvana.