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TitleYoshizaki Kazumi NewarBuddhism
Tags Indian Religions Religious Behaviour And Experience Vajrayana Mandala
File Size740.7 KB
Total Pages109
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The Kathmandu Valley as a Water Pot

Abstracts of research papers on Newar Buddhism in Nepal



Kurokami Library, Kumamoto,



This book is a collection of abstracts of my papers on Newar Buddhism in Nepal, which I have
published over these past 25 years. I am aware that it would be desirable to completely rewrite
these papers in light of the latest scholarship throughout the world. But I'm afraid that it would
become too bulky a volume. I didn't wish to publish anything too large in size, so I restricted my
citations of the latest studies to a minimum. In fact, I omitted many important works in order to
summarize my papers. I hope they will be referred to in the development of discussion.

I visited the Valley of Kathmandu for the first time in 1985 to research the Newar Buddhist
manuscripts. Everything that I saw there fascinated me at once. I was surprised by their festivals,
manners and customs, and especially their Buddhist rituals. Many questions rushed at me one
after another. I asked myself, "what is the real aim of their performances ?" My papers were
produced to help me arrive at my own answers, although some questions remain insoluble. I know
that my papers are lacking in certain considerations, and I alone am responsible for any errors of
fact, interpretation, or omission. I believe that they will be corrected through discussions with my
friends in Nepal and other countries. They will make good their arguments. I will be happy if my
struggle to interpret the Newar Buddhist rituals is any help in bearing fresh fruit.

My fieldwork in the Valley was carried out from February 1985 to January 1989. Of these four
years, two years were supported by Educational Ministry of Japan. Since then, I've had some
subsequent opportunities to revisit the Valley. During my stay in the Valley, I was lucky enough
to ask for a lot of invaluable advice from Gurus and friends of the Newars. I couldn't make up my
mind in grappling with my questions about Newar Buddhism without their support. I would also
like to thank the late Pandit Asakaji Vajracarya, the late Ratnakaji Vajracarya, and the late Prem
Bahadur Kansakar for their expert help. They talked to me as if I were their real son, and they
taught me repeatedly the importance of studying Newar Buddhism and its cultural heritage. I pray
whole-heartedly for the repose of their souls.

Finally, I express my hearty thanks to Mr. Iain Sinclair. He corrected my English, and he gave
me many suggestions. I cannot thank him too much. But it is impossible for him to correct all of
my poor English. Readers are still required to perceive what I meant.


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Part 1 : Overview Mandala, Stupa and Human Body in Newar Buddhism
Part 2 :

1 The Construction of Caityas in Newar Buddhism
2 Eyes of 3,400 Caityas in the Kathmandu Valley
3 Kalasa-puja and the art related to it in Nepal
4 The Kathmandu Valley in a Water Pot
5 Basa Layegu, or the Dhvajavaropana Rite in Newar Buddhism
6 Have you ever seen the Buddha ?
7 A Comment on Vajracaryas in Newar Buddhism
8 The Etymology of "O-bon" or "Ulambana"
9 The inlaid Kalasa of the Nepalese Stupas / Caityas and its Symbolism of the Akanistha-
Bhuvana Heaven

10 Baha and Bahi - the two types of Newar Buddhist monastery
11 Vajracarya, Vajrasattva and Vajradhara in Newar Buddhism
12 Living Goddess Kumari and the Buddha Sakyamuni's Mother Maya Devi
13 "Impregnation" and "Birth" of a Deity in the Newar Buddhist Ritual
14 A Buddha Reflected in the Newar Buddhist Ritual Mirror
15 The Vajracarya as Monk in Newar Buddhism
16 Vasuki and Karkotaka Nagarajas in Newar Buddhism
17 Gurumandala-puja in Newar Buddhism
18 The Water Pot as a Mandala in the Kathmandu Valley
19 The Kathmandu Valley as "Himalaya", one of the two Upachandohas in Samvara

20 On the Mural Painting executed around a Doorway of the Newar Private House
21 On " " in the Modern Newar BuddhismSthiro-bhava-vakya
22 Virupaksa and Khaganana in the Kathmandu Valley
23 Annual Rituals at Svayambhu Mahacaitya of Nepal
24 Vanaratna in Nepal
25 The Human Body in Newar Tantric Buddhism
26 Yogambara Tantrism in Newar Buddhism
27 On the Economic Status of Modern Newar Buddhist Monasteries
28 The Men who went to Tibet and the Women they left behind : from Aniko and his

Nepalese Wife to " "Muna-Madan
Svayambhu-purana"29 On the Tibetan translation of the "

30 The Nepalese Caitya Game of Karma
31 From Sadhana to Possession in Newar Buddhism
32 Tibetan Buddhist Paintings bearing Newari Inscriptions

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24 Vanaratna in Nepal , vol.203, 1999,The Mikkyo Bunka - Journal of Esoteric Buddhism

pp. 1 - 21 .

Vanaratna, later called "The Last Pandita", was born in 1384 A.D. in Eastern India. Travelling
between Tibet and Nepal, he produced and translated many important Buddhist works in Sanskrit
and Tibetan. He resided "at the vihara of Santapuri of 'Phags-pa Sin-kun Svayambhu-caitya in
Nepal " Roerich 1976:799 . He also stayed in Pintu Bahi Gopicandra Mahavihara in the
northern part of Lalitpur Patan . The name of this monastery is found in at least three colophons

Trayodasatmaka-sricakrasamvara-of his work translated into the Tibetan language,
, No.4651 , .,mandalopayika Tibetan Tripitaka Peking edition Lokesvara-stotra-ratnamala ibid

Peking edition sDe-dge edition Ratna-stotra-saptaka ibid PekingNo.4844 = No.1174 , and .,
No.5101, cf. , No.5044 .edition Srimad-guru-Vanaratna-stotra-saptaka

A painting which depicted his life, along with a lengthy inscription, had been handed down
throughout the years within the Pintu Bahi monastery. It is now in the possession of Los Angeles
County Museum of Art. The nineteenth century reproduction can be found in Bharat Kala Bhavan,
Benares, India see Pal 1978: plates 7 and 8 . Pratapaditya Pal published the inscription and an
English translation in his book. According to it, "In the year 575 A.D.1455 , Vanaratnapa, while
residing in Govichandra monastery, made donations of grains to ascetics, Saiva ascetics, brahmins,
and householders. Gifts were made to all who came from sunrise to sunset. Again in the year 588
A.D.1468 , on the eighth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Sravana July-August , on

a Wednesday, Vanaratnapa made donations to the entire monastic order consisting of 1,590
persons. In the following year 1469 , on the seventh day of the dark fortnight of the month of
Margasirsha November-December , a Monday, Vanaratnapa attained Buddhahood" Pal
1985:236-237 ; see also Huntington & Bangdel 2003:143-145 , . note 1 on p.145 .esp

Gautam Vajracharya pointed out that "the date of the nineteenth century reproduction, the full
moon of the month of Sravana, is also the exact lunar date for the annual opening of the art
exhibition. Evidently, the fresh copy was commissioned for the yearly display of the art collection
owned by the Govicandra manastery" Gautam 1987:42 . At this annual exhibition of the
treasures kept in the Newar Buddhist monesteries Bahi and Baha , only the non-tantric treasures
are exhibited in public. This is the reason why this annual display is named "Bahi-dyah-bvaygu",
not "Baha-dyah-bvaygu", although it is also held in Baha monasteries.

Two dates written in the original inscription have significant meanings. "The eighth day of the
bright fortnight of the month of Sravana" corresponds to the day of the annual Panca-dana festival
in Patan. During the Panca-dana festival and the Samyak Festival a large-scale festival of
Panca-dana , we can see many images of Dipankara Buddha wherever charitable donations to
monks are done. The making of the image of Dipankara Buddha, and the performance of the
Samyak Festival started as early as N.S. 502 see Hemaraj N.S. 1100:18-19 .

Vanaratna "attained Buddhahood" "on the seventh day of the dark fortnight of the month of
Margasirsha". According to a famous Tibetan chronicle, " " he died "at the age ofThe Blue Annals ,

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85 1468 A.D. ", on the "midnight of the 22nd day" of "the eleventh month", "having retired to
his cell, he sat in the diamond vajra posture on his meditative mat, holding his body erect,
and manifested the state of going to the Tusita Heaven". And "in the evening of the 23rd",
"people were conveying lit. inviting his remains for cremation at the Ram-do-li burial ground
situated near the hill of the Svayambhu-caitya " Roerich 1976:804 .
Prior to his death, he gave the initiation of Samvara Cakrasamvara mandala, consisting of 13

deities trayodasatmaka , to the Tibetan pupil named bSod-nams rgya-mtsho in A.D. 1465. The
above mentioned Peking No.4651 wasTrayodasatmaka-sricakrasamvara-mandalopayika
re-edited by bSod-nams rgya-mtsho in the presence of his Guru Vanaratna. The re-editing must
have been done on this occasion. The last "encouragement towards attaining Enlightenment" was
held "in the 11th month, in the dark half of the month krsna-paksa , on the 23rd day" Roerich
1976:818-821 .

Pratapaditya Pal said that "While there is no disagreement among the Tibetan and Nepali
sources regarding Vanaratna's generosity, there is some difference about the exact date of his
death" Pal 1989:195 . But, the 11th month of the Tibetan calendar corresponds to the month
of Margasirsa or Marga of the Nepalese calendar, because the month of Asvini is "the 9th
month of the Tibetan year", and the month of Karttika is "the 10th month" of the Tibetan year

Roerich 1976:818-819 . By adding 15 days of the bright fortnight, the 22nd day of the month
agreed with "the seventh day of the dark fortnight of the month". In the Newar Buddhist tradition,
the 10th day of the dark fortnight of the month Margasirsa is called Samvarodaya-dasami. This is
the most sacred day for the Newar Buddhists. Hemaraj Sakya said that "The day after having a
vision of the goddess Guhyesvari's universal form, Manjusri visualized Mahasamvara. On the
occasion of receiving blessing from Mahasamvara, he performed an elaborate offering ceremony
and received an empowerment of Vajra water from the sacred Kunda pool of Dharmodaya
Guhyesvari. ~ To commemorate this day the 10th day of the waning half of Marga , Nepalese
Buddhists celebrate the Creation of Samvara with formal worship "Samvarodaya disi puja

Hema Raj 2004:725 .
Vanaratna died three days before Samvarodaya-dasami. His death was on the 7th day of the

dark fortnight of Margasirsa, and his funeral rite was performed on the next 8th day. The main
festival and procession of Goddess Guhyesvari she has an epithet of Khaganana takes place
annually on the 9th of the dark fortnight of the month of Margasirsha Michaels with Sharma
1996:322 . But, in A.D. 2000, it was held on 21st November, and Samvarodaya-dasami was on
20th December.

Iyashi to25 The Human Body in Newar Tantric Buddhism Musashi Tachikawa ed.,

Sukui, Tokyo, 2001, pp.265-287.

Buddhist Newars arrived at the idea of the vessel in which a deity is present, to realize the
Indian philosophical identification of a macrocosm with man as a microcosm of the universe. The
Kathmandu Valley was the largest vessel in Newar Buddhism, because it produced the Bright

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Buddhist Paintings of Tibet and Nepal Museum of Fine ArtsToganoo Shozui M. 1986
, Rinsen Book Co., Japan.Boston

Indogaku Bukkyogaku Kenkyu - Journal ofTsukamoto Keisyo 1979 Renge-sho to Renge-za,
, vol.28 - no.1, 1979, pp.1-9 in Japanese .Indian and Buddhist Studies

Tucci, Giuseppe 1980 , Rinsen Book Co., reprinted in Japan.Tibetan Painted Scrolls
Tuladhar, Sumon Kamal 1979/80 Gwaye Da Tayegu : An Initial Ritual of the Samyaka Guthi,

, vol. VII - no. 1/2, pp.47~70.Contributions to Nepalese Studies
Rastriya Abhilekhalayaka Nepalabhasa/Newarbhasa Abhilekha-Vaidya, Janaka Lal V.S.2058

granthaka Varnatmaka Suci A Descriptive Catalogue of Nepalbhasa/Newari Manuscripts pre-

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, Kath-kha Granthaya Varnatmaka Dhalah A Descriptive Catalogue of Selected Manuscripts
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Vaidya, Karunakar 1986 , Kathmandu.Buddhist Traditions and Culture of the Kathmandu Valley
Wadley, Susan S. 1976 The Spirit "Rides" or the Spirit "Comes" Possession in a North Indian

Village, in A. Bharati ed., , MoutonThe Realm of the Extra-Human Agents and Audiences
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Wee, L. P. Van der 1969 A Tibetan Thanka, , vol. XV - no.4, pp.296-300.Oriental Art
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Nepal History of the Country and People,Wright, Daniel ed., 1983 first published in 1877
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1994 Books on Nepalese Buddhism and Culture in Kurokami Library, Japan
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