Nirvana Day 2018

Tomorrow is Parinirvana Day, the day the Buddha passed away into final Nirvana. It is a time to reflect on the impermanence of life, and on why the Buddha appeared in the world.


It is always a good day to reflect like that! Thanks Kensho

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Is this according to Mahayana?

Was the Buddha born, attained enlightenment, and passed away all on the same day?

Hundreds of millions of people will be honoring the Buddha’s Nirvana and passing tomorrow, and I think that matters, whether one is Theravada or Mahayana.

You’re welcome. It’s definitely a time to reflect on the things I should do differently in my life.

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So. What are the three days according to Mahayana?
Where do you find the supporting evidence?
Just a matter of interest.

There’s just something significant in feeling that, even if you are the only Buddhist where you live, there are millions of other Buddhists out there honoring the Buddha’s passing on the same day.

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Sure. But why do you honour the Buddha on this particular day? How did it come to be that way? What are the sources of this tradition?

According to both afaik.

Obviously this is something like Christmas/Jesus’s birthday, the date was decided WAY after the fact. But it seems like a nice excuse to have a holiday!


The folk belief afaik is that the Buddha was born, attained awakening, & passed into parnirvāṇa all on the same day (different years obv). How that developed I don’t know.

Also Chinese New Year. We went to the Chinese Bhikkshuni temple for puja. Apparently it’s the largest Mahayana temple (property) in the South Pacific. I love visiting them even if we can’t communicate very well. They’re very kind and peaceful and I have huge respect for their way of practicing the Dhamma.

Last year around Magha Puja we went for the Buddha’s Englightenment day there. And we have been for ‘Buddha’s Birthday’ at Wesakha Puja. Just to give perspective to the Theravadins. (I hope this is correct)


I don’t know. I’d appreciate it if I did find out the reasons for the date. Either way, hundreds of millions of people are honoring the Buddha’s Parinirvana today, and that’s what matters.

That would be an interesting coincidence.

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Thank you for the reminder. I’ll be sending the appropriate greetings to my friends in Korea.


Hello everyone.

I think that today is the Mahayana day, in Theravada countries this is celebrated on Vesak, which is in May/June.

The decision to agree to celebrate Wesākha as the Buddha’s birthday was formalized at the first conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka in 1950, although festivals at this time in the Buddhist world are a centuries-old tradition. The resolution that was adopted at the World Conference reads as follows:

"That this Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, while recording its appreciation of the gracious act of His Majesty, the Maharaja of Nepal in making the full-moon day of Vesak a Public Holiday in Nepal, earnestly requests the Heads of Governments of all countries in which large or small number of Buddhists are to be found, to take steps to make the full-moon day in the month of May a Public Holiday in honour of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of Humanity."

I could not find any further information about why the Mahayana tradition celebrates it today.

I don’t think it is a bad thing to have 2 dates a year for this :slight_smile:

I will celebrate both.

Best regards.


It seems the Burmese & Japanese celebrate it on a different day. Adaption of this particular day as “Nirvana Day” amongst Theravādins may well be syncretism.

“We have many holidays. We might as well take one to celebrate the Buddha.” <-- I can only assume that was the motivation in adopting this particular Nirvana Day for some.

Vesak I have as May 29th this year I think.

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As far as I know, Nirvana Day is on February 15th in Japan.

Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism both honor the Buddha’s birthday around the same time of year, either April or May, depending on whether they observe the lunar or the Gregorian calendar.

Theravada, for whatever reason, also honors the Buddha’s enlightenment and Parinirvana on the same day, which might be unlikely to have occurred on the same day, from a purely historical perspective.

There is no reason, then, from an ecumenical perspective, why Theravada Buddhists can’t honor or participate in Mahayana observances of Bodhi Day and Nirvana Day.