Feast of Nirvana

February 20, 2021
Tokyo, Japan

On February 15th, at Shinnyo-en’s Ogen Center in Tokyo, Japan, HH Shinso Ito celebrated the annual Feast of Nirvana, the Mahayana Buddhist celebration of the day Buddha Shakyamuni entered final nirvana (his passing).

The observance is particularly important for Shinnyo-en members, as a reminder of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, understood in Shinnyo Buddhism as the last and ultimate teachings of Shakyamuni.

Read more here: https://www.shinnyoen.org/beliefs/nirvana-sutra.html

Her Holiness spoke in front of a great scroll of the Nirvana congregation which she referred to in her remarks.

"There are many images that depict the Buddha entering final nirvana, and this one was a gift from Daigoji monastery, Master Shinjo's mother temple. The Buddha 'entering nirvana' means his passing. As he enters a state of nirvana, he becomes ever-present.

The congregation in the painting is representing all sentient beings. You couldn't possibly draw every single life form in a single painting so they are here as representatives of their kind. They congregated before the Buddha to listen to his final teaching.

This teaching was passed on, but merely on a theoretical level. Our Founders helped to make its inherent liberating power accessible. One of the great truths revealed in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra is the fact that all sentient beings possess Buddha nature, the potential to be awakened. And Shinnyo-en's Nirvana images were sculpted by Master Shinjo as a physical expression of this truth."

All people have the “seed” of enlightenment within them and by acting with compassion and concern for others, everyone can cultivate that seed and make their true self blossom.