Nirvana Day (Memorial of Sakyamuni Buddha)
Shakyamuni Buddha, founder of Buddhism, passed away into Nirvana on February 15. It is a day for all Buddhists to pay our deep gratitude and appreciation to the historical Buddha Shakyamuni for leaving us the wonderful teachings of Buddhism and also for his appearance in this world enabling us to encounter the teachings of Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow.
Shinran Shonin, the founder of Pure Land Shin Buddhism, teaches us the reason of Shakyamuni Buddha’s appearance in this world in his major writing “The True Teaching, Practice, and Realization of the Pure Land Way.” “Shakyamuni appeared in this world and expounded the teachings of the way to enlightenment, seeking to save the multitudes of living beings by blessing them with this benefit that is true and real.” (CWS P.7) Also, in Shoshinge or “Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu,” Shinran Shonin expressed his deep gratitude and his strong conviction to Shakyamuni Buddha as follows:
Shakyamuni Tathagata appeared in this world
Solely to teach the oceanlike Primal Vow of Amida;
We, an ocean of beings in an evil age of five defilements,
Should entrust ourselves to the Tathagata’s words of truth.” (CWS P.70)
We, the followers of the Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow, therefore, commemorate Shakyamuni Buddha’s memorial once a year to pay our homage to him who is the manifestation of Amida Buddha, the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life.
Let us all gather on the memorial day of Shakyamuni Buddha and reflect upon ourselves and realize the truth and reality of our lives, who we are, where we are coming from, and where we are returning to our lives end, and also express our gratitude and appreciation to Shakyamuni Buddha for making us to realize the eternal life by becoming one with Amida Buddha , the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life.