On June 23, 1996, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) held a ceremony for the founder of CTTB, the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, commemorating the anniversary of his Nirvana. Thirty-some affiliated monasteries sent representatives over to CTTB to request a share of the Master's sharira (relics). Twenty-seven of these monasteries were established when the Master was alive, the rest after his Nirvana.
After the morning recitation which began at 4:00 am, the Eight Precepts were transmitted from 5:00 am to 6:15 am. To start the anniversary ceremony for the Master's Nirvana with the precepts transmission service has a profound meaning, for the Venerable Master highly valued and advocated precepts throughout his life.
Led by Buddhist monks and nuns, over a thousand people from various parts of the world walked in procession from the Buddha Hall to No Words Hall to view the Master's sharira. The Venerable Hua's sharira, estimated to number over ten thousand, are stored in a thirteen-tier gold-foliated pagoda which is approximately seven feet high. In front of the golden pagoda were thirty one-foot-high miniature pagodas covered by glass domes. It was a magnificent sight. Each one of the miniature pagodas containing several grains of the Master's sharira was destined to be taken to a different affiliated monastery.
In addition to the special ceremony on June 23, CTTB also held a three-week Avatamsaka Sutra recitation session from June 7 to June 27 in Chinese, English, and Vietnamese to commemorate the Master. Taiwanese disciples of the Master donated a vivid bronze statue of the Master which stimulates people's memory of the Venerable One and now is placed in the Patriarch Hall of CTTB.