This festival commemorates the death of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, who lived 2,500 years ago and is the founder of Buddhism. As we recite the Scripture of Great Wisdom all the lights in the meditation hall are extinguished, one by one, except for a single light in the Founders Shrine. As the scripture continues, we make the wish for the Light of Buddha to return to the world.
The light is then brought back from the Founders Shrine into the rest of the hall, and we recite the Adoration of the Buddha's Relics and the Scripture on the Immeasurable Life of the Tathagata in celebration of the ongoing life of Buddha, and the way of ceaseless practice.
The Light of Buddha is seen in the world whenever we give rise to the sincere wish to live in harmony with what is true, and to find the end of suffering for ourselves and for all beings.