Feb 9, 2010

Nirvana Day

I noticed on my nifty calendar (that lists holidays and sabbats for all religions) that yesterday (Feb. 8th) was Nirvana Day.

The BBC "Religions" site says:

"This (Parinirvana Day or Nirvana Day) is a Mahayana Buddhist festival that marks the death of the Buddha.

Buddhists celebrate the death of the Buddha, because they believe that having attained Enlightenment he achieved freedom from physical existence and its sufferings. Buddhists celebrate Parinirvana Day by meditating or by going to Buddhist temples or monasteries.

In monasteries Parinirvana Day is treated as a social occasion. Food is prepared and some people bring presents such as money, household goods or clothes.

The day is used as an opportunity to reflect on the fact of one's own future death, and on friends or relations who have recently passed away. The idea that all things are transient is central to Buddhist teaching. Loss and impermanence are things to be accepted rather than causes of grief.
Meditations are carried out for the newly deceased to give them help and support wherever they might be now."

This somehow reminds me of the Mexican Day of the Dead - albeit less flashy. I do think there is a benefit to pondering our own mortality, and the celebration/wonderment of what is to come when our spirit/energy leaves this physical body of ours.

I think it's rather fitting that I got together with my girlfriends last night for drinks and appies and we chatted about who would be the last one left and what she was to do with all of our "ceremonial shot glasses." (Not as morbid as it might sound - it was actually a lot of laughs!)

Do you spend much time thinking about your own mortality or your ancestors, or do you save that meditation strictly for Samhain time (if you are Pagan?)


HappyCrone said...

Sweety, I faced my own mortality while watching "The Who" during half time of the SuperBowl. Boy did those guys get old!!!
Our mortality is just another journey on the wheel.

Witch By Nature and Bitch By Choice said...

HAHAHA at "The Who" sometimes, we should just let our legacy go on without us trying to hang on.

As far as mortality goes, I think when you meditate and spend time trying to figure out your role and who you really are this comes up in one way or another.

Sometimes I sit back and ponder if my ancestors back in Denmark were pagan. (Most of the documents I have from my family are in Danish and cant read a lick of em).

But with the Mayan calendar ending soon, I think a lot of people will be wondering what else is out there. What did they know and how could we possibly not know?

All I know, is December 20, 2012, I plan on having a party with some close friends. Not that I think the world will end, its just going to be an odd night, at least for me.

Glad to see you back around :)

mxtodis123 said...

Tee hee. HappyCrone sure is right about that one. As to your question, as you know I am a genealogist so, yes, I do spend a lot of time thinking about my ancestors. They've become a part of my life and some I even feel around me at times. About my own mortality? I take it one day at a time. Try to live my life in a way that I will have no regrets.

Tery said...

Thanks for sharing! I didn't know this :)

Mother's Moon's Message said...

I do not think anyone can say that they have not at one time or another sat and pondered on the idea of life and what is after... I love to sit and talk with others on this very subject.. there are so many possibilities truly they are endless.... This is but a stop along the way... or at least that is my feeling on it all..

Lyon said...

Wow I was not aware of Nirvana Day or when it was, so thank you for that. =) It isn't a topic I spend much time dwelling on, but it does come up from time to time, as any amount of introspection will assuredly produce I'm sure...I do tend to probably spend more time on the subject around Samhain for sure though. I will have to keep this holiday in mind for next year!

Ange said...

A close friend of mine once said when I told him I would like to be scattered over the sea, "Ange, your funeral rites aren't for you, they're for those back on Earth! You don't care what happens to your remains, you're already where you're meant to be..." He was a doctor specialising in terminally ill patients. Ever since then I've had a different view of things ;-)

Witch By Nature and Bitch By Choice said...

Reminds me of this:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Author Unknown

Michelle said...

I had no idea! Thank you for that tidbit of info. :) Hmmm..I don't think about my mortality too much but I am content about it (if that makes sense). I almost had to really think about my mortality in my last move! LOL Oh and by the way, yep....fell on my butt down the stairs (slid all the way down). I knew that was going to happen. Scared the be-Jesus out of my cats. I think they thought it was an earthquake.

The Wizardess epi said...

I can remember, when my children were small, having a blinding, crippling flash of fear one day that I would pass on before they grew up. Like sheer absolute terror. I don't recall how I reconciled this but I haven't lived in terror death for years, so I muddled through somehow!

Suzie said...

I don't know a lot about Buddism, but Nirvana Day is consistent with what I already have learned. What a lovely way to honor those that have Travelled On before us, and to recognize our connection.

When we are young, we don't even want to think of our mortality. We seem invincible. I think that is why it is harder for us to cope, when one of our classmates is killed, or has a terminal illness. But as we age, we look at it differently, as part of the natural part of existing in the here and now.

When someone that I love has departed from this life, I don't grieve for them. I have a very strong belief that they are in a very good place, and have received signs confirming it. The deep sorrow that I feel in my heart, is purely selfish because I miss them SO much.

As for myself, I don't fear Travelling On, I just don't want to do it yet! :-)

Thank you for sharing Nirvana Day with us, and for posing an interesting question!

motheralice said...

I see reminders all around me of those who've gone before me, and death doesn't scare me. My concern is always what will happen to those I go before. Like my son. When I can come to grips with the fact that he will be alright, then I'll be able to truly be free of fear.

Thanks so much for sharing this! I had no idea.

faerwillow said...

~growing up i to was afraid of death because it was kept from me...we lost family members and were never allowed to be apart of the grieving or services. it was an unknown process...then i watch and sat with my granmother as she took her final breaths, closed her eyes and let go...it was peaceful...not scary...then came my fatherinlaw this past summer. we listened to him in the hospital give his last wishes when we weren't quite anticipating it and during those following two months to follow we lived and breathed for him (allowing our children to be apart of each moment)...all of us were there with him too...through these two i have found comfort in death, it may sound weird but it was peaceful and we all new they would no longer endure the pain and suffering they had and in that it was a blessing far beyond what one could imagine or hope for...since both and even before i have thought about death, dreamed about dying...i feel it is normal to process something so natural...something that happenes to everyone. when i was 14 i wrote my epitaph and what i wanted spoken at my celebration of life...this was truely a wonderful post and i too had not been aware of nirvana day...thank you for sharing...brightest blessings~

Dia said...

I don't recall ever having a fear of death. I grew up with 'farming' parents, & an awareness of cycles of life - & appreciation for 'being here now,' while knowing things change.
My mom was also interested in geneology, & I loved hearing her stories of 'the olden days' or things about different ancestors.

I loved reading about White Buffalo Calf woman, who brought the peace pipe to the Plains indians, that she also brought a ceremony of keeping the spirit of someone who embodied great gifts for a year after they died, then having a special buffalo hunt, & inviting that special quality to continue in those of the tribe. I often think of that when someone 'really special' dies, of which of their qualities I want to embody.
After my dad died, I remember someone commenting that when a parent dies, we have the invitation of carrying on some of their best qualities -

Blessings for sharing this

Bridgett said...

I had never heard of this day! So thanks for the little lesson, Jenn. :)

I do occasionally ponder my mortality...but the truth is, I'd rather live for the day and focus on life, not death. I tend to be much more introspective on the subject around Samhain.

Nevertheless, I think I'm going to add this day to my calender, as well. I like Buddha. :)


Kekibird said...

Sounds like a great calendar to have. I was just saying that someone should make a calendar that shows all the random days like Bubblewrap Appreciation Day and Gum Ball Day.