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Marshall Buddhists celebrate Nirvana Day

The Parthenon

Published: Friday, February 15, 2013

Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 00:02

There are a large number of religions practiced by Marshall University students. Buddhism is a less common but equally important faith, and Buddhist students celebrated Nirvana Day, Thursday.

Nirvana Day is a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the 80th birthday and death of Buddha — at which age he reached nirvana. Nirvana is known as the conclusion of the death and rebirth cycle.

To celebrate this period of enlightenment, Buddhists have several traditions. Some go to meditate at Buddhist temples, while others use it as a social occasion, having feasts with friends and family and exchanging gifts.

Kai Kotomora, a Marshall junior, said he is a practicing Buddhist and celebrates Nirvana Day.

“Nirvana Day is a holiday my family has always celebrated, Kotomora said. “Our tradition is to go to our local monastery with my family and meditate. After that, we have our cousins and   relatives over for dinner. My mother prepares sachal eumsik, which is mainly vegetables and greens.”

Sachal eumsik is Korean for “temple food” and often follows a vegetarian diet, which is a Buddhist tradition.

The contemplation of life and death and the pursuit of enlightenment is a goal of Buddhists, who hope to achieve nirvana in their lifetime.

“Nirvana is a very important part of Buddhism,” Kotomora said. “It is a spiritual place of perfect peace, with no wants and needs. Change is always going to happen in my life and I have faith in accepting life and death as a part of it.”

Kotomora said he has Buddhist roots in his hometown of Seoul, South Korea, and that it has helped him in the transition to the United States and Marshall.

“I grew up learning and practicing Buddhism and it has been very helpful in my daily life,” Kotomora said. “After classes, I come back to my room and spend time in meditation. Nirvana Day will be special to me, even if my family is not here with me right now.”

Kotomora said he may attend a temple and that he is still looking for a local one.

Kurt Andre can be contacted at


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