The Festival of the Buddha’s Parinirvana is traditionally held in mid-February, when we commemorate the entry into Parinirvana of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, who lived 2,500 years ago. The main Buddha statue on the Altar is veiled, you can just see it faintly behind the curtain. The reclining image placed in front shows the way the Buddha passed away, lying on his right side and at peace.
Three candles representing the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are ceremonially extinguished together with the lights in the ceremony hall as we recite the Scripture of Great Wisdom. Everyone present has the opportunity to offer incense in that now darkened space, to show their willingness to practice and cultivate the Buddha’s teachings, to bring them alive to help themselves and others, even if the Buddha is apparently no longer visible. As a result brightness re-appears, starting at the small candle in the Founder’s shrine which had been left alight. All the candles and lights in the hall are relit, then a memorial ceremony for the Life of the Buddha follows, with the scattering of paper lotus petals and the reciting of Scriptures, including the Adoration of the Buddha’s Relics.