The Introduction

Newar Buddhism is tobe classified in the tradition of Indian Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism derivingits lineages from Siddha tradition of Nalanda and Vikramashila monasticuniversities. However, it has developed its peculiar characteristics which areone of a kind in the Buddhist history. One should not forget that Newar Buddhismpossesses quite a number of indigenous elements, which are not to be found inIndian Mahayana Buddhism. Now that Mahayana Buddhism has disappeared from India,Newar Buddhism found in Kathmandu valley represents one of the few tradition inthe world which has retained features inherited directly from India. At one timeall forms of Buddhism were believed to have been found in the Buddhism ofNepal.At present, there areno longer any celibate monks among Newar Buddhist Sangha. The members ofcommunity live in Vihara and have retained its designation (Sangha).

There are two statuswithin caste communities namely Vajracharya (Literally: Master of the Thunderbolt)and Shakyabhikshu. The Vajracharyas were the masters of Tantric Buddhism andritual specialists whereas the Shakyabhikshus were Buddhist monks. TheVajracharyas played a higher role than Shakyas because they were given additionalinitiation (Achaluyegu) on Buddhist tantra. Only the male members ofthis community after having undergone the rite of monastic ordination (skt:Cudakarma) belong to the Sangha. Shakya and Vajracharya boys normallyundergo this monastic ordination at the age of five, seven or nine. The rule isthat they should be under twelve years of age.Elders of themonastery addressed as Sthavira Aju will give them Pravrajyavrataor monastic initiation. The initiated boy stays in the monastery for 4, 10, 16, 20, 25 yearsfor Buddhist studies. After finishing his studies he disrobes himself for hislay Bodhisattva life. To facilitate his spiritual career, he goes throughmarriage ceremony. When the couple receive instructions on Buddhist practices,they would be given Vajracharya Abhiseka or Acharya Abhiseka.It forms one of theseries of life cycle ritual.[1] It should also be noted that Newar Buddhism hasno place for higher ordination (Upasampada) by which a novice monkbecomes a fully ordained Buddhist monk. The fact that Newar Buddhism has noplace for monastic life upgrading except for the four-days observance seems tobe a serious weakness [2] to the modern Buddhist and to the western educated persons.

Newar Buddhism has recently become the subject of great interest and detailstudy on different aspects for Siegfried Lienhard, Joohn K. Locke, David Gellner,Michael Allen and others.[3]

The unique features of the Newar Buddhism and validity of its monasticism isanalyzed in this article. Newar Buddhists describe their structure of religionas integrative in the nature of Shravaka, Mahayana and Vijrayana traditions.

Shravakayana in Newar Buddhism
To explain Newar Buddhism and its integrative behavior, it is befitting to givean account of monastic rite when young boys receive ordination (skt: Cudakarma). Before the neophyte’s topknots are cut off, a ritualizedexchange between the disciples and the preceptor is supposed to take place. Itruns thus:[4]

“OhGuru, in accordance with your instruction, from this day, and until I haveattained enlightenment I shall go for Lord Buddha’s blessing (Sri BhagavaanYaake Darsana Wane)

Thus the guru isrequested, supplicated by him.

The Guru says, “I ofsuch and such name go for refuge to the Buddha. I go for refuge to the Dharma. Igo refuge to the Sangha. While this Mandala remains, give up desire (skt: trsna).” (You, as pupil should say) “Oh Lord ! Oh Guru, greatlycompassionate. For the rest of my life, Ten Akusala Karma must be givenup, and other sins, various words-now I shall save beings and so forth.”

The pupil says, hearing this instruction, “O Lord, O Guru (as you are here)killing and so on I despicably as you say, Oh lord, Guru, you have graciouslyspoken I must go”

.The Sanskrit versionof ritual handbook runs as follows:
kulaputra idanimgrhinama evam pravrajyavratam dharayam ; sakyo si va sakyoh?

(Now, son of goodfamily, are you capable or not of taking up the observance of going forth as youshould?)

The pupil says:
bho acarya mamatmamepravrajyavratam vamcayami; krpam kuru tvam, aham itthamnama yavajjivam buddhambhagavantam

mahakarunikam sarvajnamsarvadarsinam sarvavairya bhayatitam mahapurusam abhedyakayam niruttara-kayam,dharmakayam saranam gacchami gananam agram.

(Oh ! My preceptor I wish to undertake the observance of goingforth, please be compassionate. I of such and such name, shall for the rest ofmy life go for refuge to the Lord Buddha who is greatly compassionate, allknowing, all seeing, beyond the danger of all enemies, great man, of indivisiblebody of the ultimate body, the Dharmakaya, foremost in all religious groups.)

The Guru says,
sadhu sadhu kulaputra grhalingamparityajya pravrajyalingam sakyo si trisatyam eva kuru

(Welldone, well done, son of good family swear three times that you are capable ofabandoning the insignia of a householder and taking up the insignia of thegoing-forth)

The pupil says,
bho acaryopadhyaya pravrajyavratamsakyami niscayam trisatyam

(Ohpreceptor and taking up the capable of the observance of going forth (I declareit is true) three times.

The Guru says,
abhunaham pravaksyami srnu vatsamaharatah-vratacare kathascaiva pancasiksa vidhiyate pranam na hanyat na pibecca madayam mrsa na bhasya na haret parasvam (madanasvabhavam parisamisadya),svargan ca gacched grhavat naranam, punas ca. himsa kale tatha nunam smanasavacasa pi va.

(NowI, the greatly delighted one, shall explain. Listen dear one, the five preceptsfollowed in this observance are laid down with explanations. He should not killany living being, nor drink any alcohol, lie are not to be uttered, he shouldnot take others’ goods. He should not act lustfully. If he does all this, hegoes to a heaven with other men though he be a householder. Furthermore, desireto kill even for a particular occasion even in mind or speech is wrong.)

tasmat himsa na kuryanialpayus ca bhavet naram. yada mayaratas caiva sarvajnanam parayate. dhavamsanamsarvasastrani tasmat madayam na pibayet, mrsavadaratas caiva manyahinam sadabhavet. tena mithya na sevanti duhkhapamkesu jayate. paradravyanulobhenamahaduhkhesu jayate. daridravarnapamkesu paradravyani naharet. kamakrda sadacarisada duhkhi bhavisyati. sada bhayam sada kastam tasmat kamam na sevayet. itiupasakacarya

(Therefore, desire to killis not to be done. (Otherwise) a man’s life is short. When men are addicted todrinking, all knowledge and all learning is destroyed. Therefore, he should notdrink alcohol. He who is addicted to telling lies will also be despised. Hisfalsehood will be useless; he will be reborn in the mud of suffering. Bycovering what belongs to others one is reborn to great sufferings (sunk) in themud of wretched untouchability, so, he should not take others‘ things. He whoalways indulges in sex and love games will always suffer. Forever fear, forevermisery. therefore, he should not pursue physical pleasure. This is the conductof the layman.)

Then the disciple promises,

aham itthamnama yavajjivampravrajyavratam dharayami samanavaharantu mam upadhayaya.

(I, of such and such name,for all my life take up the observance of going-forth. Bear witness for myassistant priest)

After such a marvelousdialogue between the Guru and his disciple, the priest proceeds to performnecessary rituals.

Now the neophyte’s topknot (Nep: Tupi) is cut off with a gold plated razorwhile reciting this mantra:

Om sarva jnana avarana chedaya chedaya hum phat

(Cut cut all obstacles to understanding)

The absence of topknot is perhaps the most crucial marker of the distinctionbetween Shakya, Vajracharya Buddhists and the rest of other castes in the Kathmandu valley. After consecration by holy water from whiteconch shell, theboys are given a new name and three robes. They are given begging bowl and astaff (silaku), which has an effigy of the Buddha (or of a Stupa) at the top.They are permitted to enter into main shrine of Vihara and pay homage to Kwapadya andmake offerings. Newar Buddhists are very much attached to this four daysobservance of monastic ideal to maintain one’s Buddhist identity rather thanrenouncing the worldly desires and become a Buddhist monk.

Duties of a Sakyabhikshu
The Shakya Bhikshu, who observe four days of going forth as part of Vajrayanaritual in the Nepalese style are required to observe some specific duties:

  • For the four days the Shakyabhikshu must beg his food daily,
  • Must live the life of a Buddhist monk though they continue to live at home.
  • They have to observe the regulations of diet of the monk
  • Avoid contact with unclean (association with dogs and shoes), and
  • Keep ten precepts.

The neophyte receives his first alms from the senior ten elders (DasaparamitaSthavira Aju) of the monastery and his family Buddhist priest. During the tenureof his monkhood he must visit the main shrine and pay homage to Kwapadya (maindeity) and make offerings.

On the fourth day the neophyte returns to the lay life. The boy then hands overthe begging bowl and staff, and takes off his robes. It is calledChudakarmavisarjana. Since the topknot is nevermaintained by Sakyabhikshu even after disrobing ceremony they are given thestatus of Sakyabhikshu. The disrobing ceremony does not signifythe abandonment of monastic vows but transition from Sravakayana to Mahayanapractice. They remain as Bodhisattva.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact time when the system of celibatemonasticism disappeared in Nepal. We are certain that celibate monks existedeven during the seventh century. Chinese pilgrim Xuan Zang (Hsuan-tsang) hadmentioned in his travel diary that the number of Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhistmonks were more than two thousand.

An inscription of Amshuvarma has also confirmed a conspicuous presence ofBhikshuni Sangha belonging to the Mahasanghika sect[5] as well as MahasanghikaBhikshu Sangha.[6] The inscription mentions:

tad prayojane ca caturvimsa mahayana pratipanna
aryabhikshunisamgha paribhauga akhayaniv

iNow, the question arises as to what was the Vinaya lineage of Newar BuddhistTradition. At present, we come across difficulty in finding parallel referencein the Chudakarmavidhi tradition with Mahasanghika or Mulasarvastivadatradition. A newly discovered inscription in Bhaktapur also suggests a presenceof Mahasanghika Bhikshuni lineage.[7]

Duties of Buddhist Sangha in Newar Buddhist Vihara
The duties of elders are to oversee the daily, monthly, and annual Buddhistfunctions and festivals. They also organize initiation into Bhikshu Sanghai.e.(performance of Chudakarma, Achaluyegu ceremony of initiatedmembers’ offsprings)as well as regulating the discipline of the Sangha and social rules.

All the male members who are initiated in Mahavihara constitute the Sangha.Mahavihara has a Guthi which include all the initiated members. Thesenior-most memberof the Guthi of the Vihara is addressed as Mahasthavira, and the Chakresvara andother elder are addressed as Sthavira Aju.

In the Viharas ofKathmandu as well, daily worship of the main deity (kwapadya) enshrinedin the Vihara is performed. At one time, the Viharaof Kathmandu Valley also had a complete schedule of rituals for the whole day.This is no longer in practice except at Janabaha in Kathmanduand Kwabaha in Patan.[8]Among these ritual practices the recitation ofNamasangiti, Danagatha, AparimitaDharani, Saptavidanottara Puja Strotra, Dasaparamita Strotra, andBuddham trailokya Stortras are the most prominent ones.Besides, the recitation ofAstasahasrikaprajnaparamita, Pancharakshya and NavaSutra are the scriptural bases of the Newar Buddhism. However,meditation on Samatha and Vipassana is definitely lacking. Those Vajracharya andShakya who had received the initiation on Cakrasamvara or Achaluyegu, however,meditate for some time on deity yoga and some recitation only. Nowadays a Vajracharya or Shakya very rarely perform the retreats for intensive practice.

Duties of a Bhikshu Sangha in a Theravada Monastery
The Buddhist monastic or the ordained Sangha has played a crucial role inkeeping alive and passing on the lineage of the teachings and practice since thetime of Buddha himself. Every Buddhist monastic community has some commonreligious and devotional exercises each day. It is brief and simple in Theravadamonasteries, for example: Buddhapuja, and Paritrana, as well as Mangal Sutrarecitation in ceremonial and Kathinotsava occasions. In regular occasions, theTheravada monks give the instructions on the practice of Samatha and Vipassanameditation for the lay followers.

Duties of Bhikshu Sangha in the Tibetan Monastery
In most of the Tibetan monasteries, at about 4 A.M., monks usually gathertogether with the morning bell. They clean up the floor and offer prostration tothe main deity of the monastery and some begin to offer water bowls and decoratethe altar with butter lamps. Monks gather to perform first torma(ritual cake)offering by ceremonial tea. Then they recite texts on Guru Yoga, Vajrasattva,Tara Puja and Long Life Buddha.

The forms of Guru Yoga (Padmasambhava and his lineage in case of Nyingmatradition) may vary in each tradition but the plan is however similar in nature.After formal group recital some silently sit in meditation until 7 to 8 A.M. Ifthe sponsors have some specific puja they continue it until its completion.Sometimes they go out to the sponsors’ residence and do personal practices in theirown apartments or rooms. In some monasteries, small novice children (thaba)usually read and write Tibetan grammar and English in the afternoon. They reciteby hearing small ritual texts.In the afternoon around 5-7P.M., monks get assembled for performing Puja ofprotective deities like Mahakala and so forth. Sometime monks have to performPuja on the founder’s birthday or Drubchen ceremonies. The ceremonial ritualsmay continue sometime even for two months at most and week at least. For Sakyapathe tutelary deity ceremony of Hevajra (a Highest yoga tantra deity) last forten days.In most of the Gelugpa monasteries, especially Kopan Monastery where facilitiesare available for the resident monks, the full time study program includesBuddhist philosophy, debate, English, Tibetan, Nepali language classes and Thangkapainting. Monks are trained to become teachers, meditation Masters andtranslators.In some great Kagyu and Nyingma monasteries namely Kanying and Sechenmonasteries where there are facilities, the resident monks and novices do havean opportunity for higher philosophical studies such as Bodhicaryavatara ofShanti Dev and Pramanavarttika of Dharamakirti. Most of the monasteries are runby the support and donations from individual benefactors and sponsors. The abbotof the each monastery hold responsibility for the function of the monastery.It should be noted that Tibetan Buddhist monasticism is also based on Mahayanaand Vajrayana. It has two types of Buddhist monks: celibate Buddhist monks andTantric Buddhist Master with consort (Ngakpa Lama). Both of them wear maroonin ceremonial puja.To become a Tantric Buddhistmaster one should have thoroughly gone through training undera competent Buddhist Master and gone for retreats for at least three years andshould have some degree of realization. When his realization is authenticated byhis lineage Guru, he is authorized to act as the Vajra master. Because of highdegree of realization of the tantric master in profound doctrines of Buddhism,they are given higher status than the celibate monk scholars. This tradition isvalid and substantiated by the Buddhist Sutras and Tantras.To cite few examples, in the seventh century Chandrakirti revered MasterChandragomin for his proficiency and dexterity in Namasangiti doctrine. Gampoparevered Guru Milarepa as his root Guru for realization of Mahamudra. VenerableRwa-Lotsawa (Rwa lo-tsa-ba Dorse-grags) revered Nepalese Vajracharya Bharo forhis realization of Vajrabhairabha doctrine. He also revered his Guru Mahakaruna(Ye Rang ba) of Patan who mastered in Tantra under his guidance.[9] He mastered inSambhara tantra, Samputatantra, Chakrasambara Heruka abhyudayanama,VajrabhairvaTantra and several other tantras.[10] The Vinaya lineage of this Tibetan traditionis Mulasarvastivada tradition.Mahayana / VajrayanaThe Newar Buddhists, like Buddhists everywhere, take refuge in the Buddha, theDharma and the Sangha. In the Mahayana and Vajrayana context, the Buddha is ofcourse, Sakyamuni Buddha. But in Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, the FiveTathagatas (Panch Buddhas: Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha andAmoghasiddhi) are well known in ritual than the historical Buddha.The Dharma is realization of Prajnopaya namely unity of wisdom and skilfulmeans. The texts are Vaipulya sutras: Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita,Gandavyuha, Dasabhumikasutra, Saddharmapundarika, Suvarnaprabhasa,Lankavatara, Samadhiraja,Lalitavistara and Tathagataguhyaka Sutra. These texts are recognized as theofficial texts. They are recited at various times, and the books are worshipped. In fact, worship isfavored than scholarly study.

The Sangha is of course the Bodhisttva Sangha. Much of the devotional life ofthe people revolve around the worship of eight Bodhisattvas,[11] especially Avalokiteshvara and Manjushree. Avalokiteshvara is recognized as the head ofeight Bodhisattvas. He is the representative of Sangha of Bodhisattvas. Just asin Theravada Buddhist tradition the Bodhisattva Sangha is excluded, similarly inNewar Buddhist tradition Shravaka Sangha is excluded. Since the emphasis is laidon Mahayana/Vajrayana tradition of Buddhist Sangha it would be unwise to expectBuddhist Sangha of Newar Buddhists in Theravada context.
In Newar Buddhist tradition,it seems to be no harm in giving Shakyaputra thestatus of lay Buddhist monk provided that they maintain refuge and Bodhisttvavows or even tantric samaya.The rationale behind the abandonment of Shravaka practice is given in disrobingceremony of Chudakarma (Ne: Barechuegu). As part of ritual there is always adialogue between the Guru and the disciple. It thus goes-Oh, LordGuru ! By your grace I have undertaken the vow of going forth first, given theten unproductive sins in accordance with the five precepts and eight preceptsand carried out the disciple’s path. Now I shall take up the path of Mahayana.The Guru says: Very good, lay disciple, take up the path of Mahayana. Take upthe practice of the great lord of liberation, the Guru Vajrasattva, lord ofmystic circle.[12] What is the practice of the Mahayana like? Listen and I will tell you the most fundamental of religious practicesunique to the Mahayana which can never be fulfilled without a consort. Nor can theMahayana or its observance be complete without tantric initiation. How much moretantric initiation is necessary for liberation. Therefore, you, knowing theultimate god and goddesses who as skill-in means and wisdom (Prajnopaya), takeup the practice of Mahayana and abandon that of the Shravaka.In these versions, entering the Mahayana under the instruction of the Guru canmake up the fault of abandoning the monastic vow. Taking consort for Buddhistpractice has been a general theme for Tantric Buddhist practitioner. The idea ofSwayamvara and Marriage has been a life cycle ritual as described inKriyasamuccaya of Jagaddarpana Acharya (Mahamandalacharya).Exploring Celibacy in Bhikshu Sangha of Newar Buddhist TraditionThe Buddha often placed Dhamma first and then the Vinaya in relevance to histeachings. According to the Buddha, Vinaya is the most important of theTripitaka (three baskets) for the survival of the Sasana. Vinaya rules are usedfor regulating outward conduct of the individual and the collective practice ofthe Sangha. Dhamma is for inward development and the attainment of a good life.Celibacy is considered as holy and good in most of the religions of the world,especially within the Buddhist Sangha of Theravada and Mahayana tradition. AsBuddhism is spread in Western countries, the practice of celibacy is beingcritically questioned for the first time. In those places, many people considerthe voluntary abstention from sexual activity which is strange or unnatural.If celibacy is a sole Buddhist religious ideal, then the student ofBuddhism can find those Japanese and High Tibetan Lamas whose marriages areaccepted by their cultures? Are they all subject, by their religious principle,to ostracism as sinners then?History shows that the practice of celibacy is as old as asceticism in India,much older than the historical Buddha himself. Buddha was born, there wereascetics who practiced celibacy as a spiritual discipline conductive to theattainment of enlightenment. Although celibacy was quite common, the practicemay not have been very strict since some ascetics (rishis) took their wives withthem to practice asceticism in solitary places of India. When Buddhataught celibacy as important commitment to his disciples, celibacy came to beheld in highest regard for its own sake as well as for the pleasing impressionit created in pious lay people. Once the strict practice of celibacy had becomea strong norm, its transgression came to be seen as a sinful thing.In his first sermon the Buddha mentioned sexual intercourse as a base or low actperformed by common people as opposed to monks. He said that addiction toattractive sensual pleasures and addiction to self torture are both extremepractices. Since, as extremes, they are inconsistent with the middle path leadingto nirvana.[13] In Theravada tradition, Buddha had to prohibit every kind ofsexual behavior by member of the Sangha community as unfit acts and had topunish him or her through formal meeting of the Sangha.Only the willing celibate is a proper candidate for ordination, but others mayseek it. The monks’ unmarried life is individually free. A monk can devote allhis time and energy to spiritual development. But if he is not active inspiritual practices there is nothing special about his monkhood. It is bothwaste of time and painful restraint on his freedom in terms of sexual activity,especially when he longs for it.According to Parajika rules of Vinaya, the ordained monk who has violated thenormal code of celibacy loses his monkhood. Such a monk cannot attain liberationor Nirvana. It should be noted that the ultimate aim of the practice of celibacyis to eradicate the mental defilement- greed, hatred, and delusion.
The fulfillment of celibacy is said to be the attainment of Nirvana.

In Newar Buddhist tradition, Bahi are said to be the repositories of celibatemonastic tradition. When celibate communities existed, if celibate monks decidedto become householder monks, they left their monastery and joined a bahi[14]According to John Locke’s hypothesis, two institutions namely celibate andnon-celibate existed side by side from the earliest days. Gradually, as aresult of the dominant tradition of becoming married number of celibate monks (brahmacharyabhikshu) decreased.[15] Locke confidently declares the celibate communitieswere always in minority even from the Licchavi and Thakuri period..Since the Buddha advocated the path of restraint or renunciation in Shravakayanapractices, the ultimate aim is the attainment of abiding Nirvana (Skt.pratisthita Nirvana). But in Mahayana/Vajrayana form of Buddhism, the Buddhaadvocated the path of transformation for his advanced bodhisattva disciples. Hetaught the doctrine of Great Bliss and Emptiness to attain the state ofBuddhahood (Skt: apratisthita Nirvana i.e. Non-abiding Nirvana). In this form ofteaching Buddha Vajradhara made use of lust or even sexual bliss in the path toenlightenment. From the point of view of Theravada tradition this view can bemerely a joke. On the other hand Tantric Buddhists regard their practice asauthentic in view, meditation, practice and function (drsti, dhyana, carya) and blameless in ideal asthe Middle path of the Buddha.Newar Buddhism as a Lay Bodhisattva PracticeIt seems that there had been a provision for lay Buddhist monkhood which becamevery popular in the valley of Kathmandu. The validity of this tradition was alsocorroborated by the text “Siksasamuccaya” of Acharya Shanti Deva. It runs thus:punara aparma kulaputra bhavisyanti anagata
adhavani grahstha pravajita adikarmika bodhisattva.
The meaning of the text is as follows:Again, oh, Sons of the family, there will be the householder beginner
(Skt:adikarmika) and ordained bodhisattvas in the future.Concerning Adikarmika Bodhisattva Acharya Anupamavajra stands prominent. Hiswork had a great influence on Nepalese Buddhist tradition. It is surprising andinteresting to note that Adikarmapradipa which was composed in 1098 A.D. byAnupamavajra had profound impact on the daily practice of Newar Buddhist societyeven till today. To state briefly, Adikarmapradipa deals with the following practices of Newar Buddhists.

  • Taking Refuge in Triple Gems
  • Reciting Namasangiti
  • To recite Bhadracarya Pranidhana
  • To offer Preta bali
  • To circumambulate Caitya, Buddha statues etc.
  • To perform Gurumandala rite
  • To meditate on tutelary deity
  • To recite Prajnaparamita and other Mahayana Sutras
  • To recite danagatha (stanzas of giving)
  • To perform Bodhisattva practices joyfully
  • To study Buddhist scriptures
  • Offering food to Triple Gems and tutelary deity before eating
  • Offer fivefold prostration to Buddha of ten directions
  • Sleeping in a lion’s posture after meditating on Deity Yoga

According to Newar Buddhist tradition, even after disrobing ceremony ofCudakarma, the Shakyas and Vajracharyas do not cease to be bhikshu or Buddhistmonks, but they pass from the state of celibate bhikshu to that of householdermonks (grihasthibhikshu),a fact underlined by the term Sakyabhikshu used to refer to them down ages.In disrobing ceremony the following lines arearticulated about the status of bhikshu.
You have gone through Sravakayana and now comes to Mahayana, the greatest ofthe Buddhist Yanas. You have participated in some Vajrayana rituals and aftergoing through some higher ordinations you will know what Chakrasamvara is.[16]The Impact of Master Atisha’s Teaching on Newar BuddhismMaster Atisha who wroteBodhisattvakarmadimargavatara also propounded theconcept of the Adikarmika Bodhisattva practice. Since Atisha was contemporarywith Anupamavajara and Advavajra, both of them have borrowed the idea of layBodhisattva practice from him.

  1. Atisha first emphasized the practice of refuge and generation of Bodhicittaon the basis of sevenfold practice (skt : saptavidhanolttara puja) Newar Buddhists are proficient in performing “sattvapuja” (verse 5 of Adikarmapradipah).
  2. He also promulgated the theory of moderation of consuming food habits andfood offerings to Gurus and three jewels (verse 10-11).
  3. With a view to teach the whole sentient beings one should recite profoundMahayana sutras (like Prajinaparamita and so forth)(verse 7).
  4. After completing one’s morning duties one should practice the act of fivefoldprostration to Triple Gems with a view to liberating all other sentient beings and should sleep in lion’s posture of Atisha aftercompleting one’s devotional exercise(Caryasamgraha pradeepa, verse14). [17]
  5. One should practice the unity of Samatha and Vipassana and should realize theemptiness of all body and ephemeral nature of all phenomena. WhereasAnupamavajra mentions only the necessity of practice of Deity yoga (Caryasamgraha pradeepa, verse14).
  6. Offering one’s food to tutelary deities and Dharmapala before eating meal isone fundamental daily practice of Adikarmic bodhisattva(see Caryasangrahapradeepa, verse 11).

By analyzing these references we can conclude that Atisha’s teaching had greatinfluence on Newar Buddhist tradition too. Atisha’s reformation in Buddhistmonasticism is well known in Tibet. He tried his best to uplift Buddhistmonasticism during his sojourn in Nepal. He composed Caryasamgraha Predeepa, andVimalratnalekha nama to enhance the monastic ideal of Newar Buddhism. He evenstrongly prohibited the act of taking initiation of Highest Yoga Tantra formonastics. Because of short duration of his stay in Nepal his influencecould not be seen and got strengthened. Later Anupamavajra superseded Atisha’sinfluence because of his tantric teachings.Decline of Celibate Monasticism

Now the question arises why Newar Buddhists prefer to be Grihastha Bhikshurather than to be celibate monks. There has been a constant conviction among thehistorians or local Buddhists that celibate Buddhist monks existed in the NewarBuddhist tradition until the advent of King Jayasthitimalla in the 15thcentury.There is a hypothesis that King Jayasthitimalla alone could not have wiped out thecelibate monastic tradition of Newar Buddhism. But as a matter of fact, the decline of celibatemonasticism in Nepal started long before his coming to power. He had to witnessthe total disappearance of celibate monastic tradition by activating so-calledsocial reformation. We can guess that there were only a few celibate Buddhistmonks even during Atisha’s period. Atisha established a pre-Kadampa monastic order.He ordained a prince and named him as Padmaprabha. One of his monk friendsdue to growing influence of Buddhist tantrism, had asked Master Atisha forpromulgation of non-tantric Mahayana Buddhist doctrine. Accepting his requestMaster Atisha had composed Caryasamgrahapradipa [18] to comfort him.There might have been two causes on the decline of celibate Buddhist monasticsystem of Newar Buddhist tradition. These are:

  1. Lack of royal patronization, and
  2. Impact of Vajrayana Buddhism

a. Lack of royal patronization

If we research and analyze deeply the historical background of other Buddhistcountries, it becomes clear that a strong patronage from a ruling circle isessential to maintain the celibate monastic community. While considering theevents since Buddha’s period, his monastic community was well and fullypatronized by King Prasenjit, King Bimbisara, King Ajatasatru, and in laterperiods, Emperor Ashoka, King Kaniska, King Harsha Vardhana, and some other Palaand Sena Kings too had patronized the Buddhist Sangha.When Islamic invasion took place in important monasticcenters of Buddhism inIndia, the muslims ransacked and thoroughly destroyed them. With no supportersfor monastic community, the Sangha could not thrive in India, ending up with itstotal disappearance.On the other hand, the Buddhist monastic Sangha thrived and flourished with thesupport of Kings and wealthy patrons in Tibet, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma andsome other Southeast Asian countries. The decline in monastic community could beclearly seen in the withdrawal of active support and patronage from the rulers.The same reason can be applied to Newar Buddhist monastic community too. Due tothe lack of support from Hindu rulers of Kathmandu valley, the celibate monastictradition could not survive, let alone flourish.b. Impact of Vajrayana Buddhism
To describe the presence of celibate Buddhist monks during the transition periodfrom 880 to 1200 A.D. of Nepalese Buddhist history would be only speculativerather than factual.The emergence and flourishing of Vajrayana Buddhism and its associated cultswere distinctly visible due to the activities of Mahasiddha tradition of HighestYoga Tantra in Nepal and India. The rise of Vajrayana Buddhism paved the way forthe growth on non-celibate monastic tradition in India, Nepal and Tibet till theadvent of Atisha (982-1054). It is a fact that with the rise of Vajrayana,celibate Buddhist monastic traditions began to dwindle and then slowlydisappeared in Nepal completely by the end of 15th century.The transition period of Nepal witnessed the birth of several outstandingBuddhist Masters of Nepal who were well versed in Tantric Buddhism. NepaleseBuddhist Masters had constant touch with the Indian and Tibetan BuddhistMasters.According to Padma Kathang, a treasure text of Nyingma tradition, Buddhist Master Guru Padma Sambhava is said to have visitedSankhu, Pharping and other places in Kathmandu valley and diffused TantricBuddhist teachings around the eighth century. He took two female disciples called Sakyadevi and Kalasiddhias his consorts for the practice of Atiyoga sadhana.[19]Guru Paindapa and Chitherpa were the famous and gifted disciples of Naropa (10thcentury). Marpa (11th century), the great translator of Tibet, had stayed in the Kathmandu valley for three years to study Anuttarayoga Tantra under Paindapa andChitherpa. According to the biography of Marpa, he received teachings onCatuhpith Tantra and Cakrasamvara Tantra from these Nepalese Guru at RatnakaraMahavihara (Ha Baha) of Patan.[20]

The study of Highest Yoga Tantra among these great Masters is a commoncurriculum of their tantric studies. It is generally thought that the practiceofhighest Yoga Tantra is not fit for every body. For people who lack necessaryqualifications, Tantra is said to be extremely dangerous. Such people cangreatly harm themselves if they enter into tantric practice. Thus, the DalaiLama cautions: Tantra is not appropriate for the minds of many. If one’smental continuum has not been ripened by the practices common to both sutra andtantrasuch as realisation of suffering, impermanence, refuge, love, compassion,altruistic mind generation, and emptiness of inherent existence, practice of theMantra vehicle can be ruinous through one’s assuming an advanced practiceinappropriate to one’s capacity. Therefore, its open dissemination isprohibited; practitioners must maintain secrecy from those who are not vesselsof this path.[21]Those who are judged to be suitable receptacles for tantric initiations aresworn to secrecy. The initiates are required to take a series of vows (Samaya),one of which is not to reveal tantric teachings openly. The promisedretributions for breaking the vows include painful suffering in “Vajra hells”reserved for those who transgress their tantric promises. It involves takingmany types of initiations. Four of the most important are:

  1. Kalasa abhiseka (Vase empowerment)
  2. Guhya abhiseka (Secret empowerment)
  3. Prajna abhiseka (Wisdom empowerment)
  4. Sabda abhiseka (Word empowerment)

The first involves giving initiation using water in a vase and is found in allfour tantra sets. The other three are used only in highest yoga tantra. It istaught that receiving vase initiation causes to attain the rank of NirmanakayaBody of the Buddha.The secret, knowledge and word initiation, sometimes involve practice with aKarmamudra (actual consorts) and ingestion of impure substances. The Karmamudraand substances may be either imagined or real in Tibetan tradition. But inNepalese tradition use of real Karmamudra is stressed while taking acharyaabhiseka too. The followers of these tantras use the desire in the path toenlightenment. They can transform energy of sexual desire into blissful wisdomconsciousness. Through Deity Yoga, they enhance the experience of wisdom andcompassion. The ultimate goal of these practitioners is the attainment ofBuddhahood in one life time. Since these involve sexual practices, the celibacyof the monkhood is dangerously threatened. That is why Atisha in his Bodhipathapradeepa strongly prohibited the monks from practicing Highest Yoga Tantra for it endangerstheir celibacy of monastic vows. According to Atisha Dipamkara, lay Bodhisattvalife is much more favorable for the practice of Highest Yoga Tantra disciplinesas stated in Bodhipathpradipa:For attaining Bodhisambhara in a simple way it has been set forth in the KriyaandCarya (action and practice) ways. If one is desirous of the practice ofGuhyamantra by pleasing the Guru, one receives the complete Acharyabhiseka. Blessedthus, you will purify all the negativities and become suitable vessel to achieverealization. In Adi Buddha Maha tantra, it is strictly prohibited that secretwisdom initiation is not the privilege of the celibate monks. The ordained onewho abides in the asceticism can receive that initiation, the vow of asceticismwill degenerate due to the practices of restrictions. The practitioner will bedefeated, downfall will arise, due to which he will fall among the lower realmsand never will there be realization.[22]If this is so why Newar Buddhists take risk in being a celibate monk and atthe same time practice Anuttara yoga tantra? That’s why, their preference to be a lay Bodhisattva practitioner is most likely one. Atisha also gives an option thatthose monastics who are highly advanced practitioners, and have perceivedpermission from the authentic Masters, for them there is no prohibition toreceive these four initiations and practice. Later on, Tantric Masters began togive these initiations without taking students’ qualification into consideration and the Sanghasuffered a lot. This resulted in a swift decline of monastic Buddhism in Nepalese Vajrayana tradition.ConclusionWe have just discussed the nature of Newar Buddhism as being faultless accordingto the textual tradition. But if it is not reinforced with practice and study, it mightbecome an obsolete religion. The purpose of this article is not to glorify the Newar Buddhism but present the existing situation. It is true that layBodhisattva practice is valid tradition authenticated by Siksasamuccaya ofShanti Deva. Thus the Newar Buddhism cannot be said to be corrupt form ofBuddhism as some are tempted to allege. All forms of religious principles arefollowed by Newar Buddhists too.Therefore, it isnecessary that Newar Buddhists should revive and receivethe lost teachings of Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism from Tibetan Buddhist Mastersto bridge the gap of lineage of practice that has been ignored and lost in away.If we could create some celibate Buddhist monks practicing Newar VajrayanaBuddhism then the structure of Newar Buddhism can be complete.In order to achieve this goal, a good relation and interaction with Theravadaand Tibetan Buddhist monks should be established.It is true that four days of observance of monastic vows are too symbolic incharacter. It lacks the foundation of monastic upgrading. So the Theravada monkswho were trained in Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka even charged Newar Buddhistmonasticism with having no ground at all. The basis of their charge is thatNewar Vajracharya and Shakyas are lay Buddhists and they are not monks. As it isdiscussed, the sustenance of Buddhist monasticism is very difficult if notimpossible without the support and cooperation from the government. Nepal haspreserved Buddhist Sanskrit literature. Nepalese scholars can contribute a lotto Sanskrit Buddhism. There are yet many unexplored areas ofBuddhist culture and practices among the Newar Buddhism. At last, to conclude,the words of Suniti Kumar Chatterji, the famous Indian Buddhist Scholar, is worthmentioning:
One great service the people of Nepal did particularly the highly civilized Newars of the Nepal valley, was the preservation of all the manuscripts ofMahayana Buddhist literature in Sanskrit, it was the contribution of Sri Lankato have preserved for human kind the entire mass of the Pali literature ofTheravada Buddhism. This was also on to Burma, Cambodia and Siam. It wassimilarly the great achievement of people of Nepal to have preserved the equallyvaluable original Sanskrit texts of Mahayana Buddhism

NOTES & REFERENCES

*This paper was presented at the Seminar on Nepal Mandala organized by Lotus ResearchCentre.
**.Min Bahadur Shakya is a Lecturer at Engineering Campus, and a Visiting Lecturer at the Central Department of Buddhist Studies, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur. He is also the Founder and Director of Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods, Lalitpur.

1. Acarya Kriyasamucaya mentions 10 life cycle rituals to be performed. They are as follows: (1) Jatakarma (2) Namakarma, (3) Annaprasana (4) Cudakarma(5) Chudakarmavisarjana (6) Vajracaryabhisekha, (7) Svayambara, (8) Bibaha, (9) Dikshya and (10) Sthavira.The author of Acharyakriya Samuccaya is Mahamandalacharya Jagaddarpana. The Brihat Suchipatra mentions 3 copies of the text in the Bir Library in 1964; Purna Ratna Vajracharya, Brihatsuchipatra, Vol. 7 pt 1, Kathmandu: Bir Library, 2021 B.S., pp. 53-59.Backto text

2. Heinz Bechert and Jens-Uwe Hartmann, “Observations on the Reform of Buddhism in Nepal”, Journal of the Nepal Research Centre, Vol. VIII, 1988, pp. 2-6.Back to text

3. Siegfried Lienhard, “Nepal: The Survival of Indian Buddhism in a Himalayan Kingdom”,
– H. Bechert and Richard Gombrich (ed.), The World of Buddhism, London: Thames and Hudgson, 1984, pp. 108-114.; John K. Locke,Karunamaya: The Cult of Avalokitesvara Matsyendranath in the Valley of Nepal, Kathmandu: Shahayogi/CNAS, 1980. ; John K. Locke, Buddhist Monasteries of Nepal, Kathmandu: Sahayogi Press, 1985.; Michael Allen, “Buddhism without Monks – The Vajrayana Religion of the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley”, South Asia, 3 (1973), pp. 1-14. ; David Gellner, Monk, House Holders and Tantric Priest: Newar Bhddhism and its Hierarchy of Ritual, London: Cambridge University Press, 1992.; Stephen M. Greenwold, “The Role of the Priest in Newar Society” in JamesFisher (ed.) Himalayan Anthropology, The Hague: Mouton, 1978, pp. 483-503.Backto text

4. David N. Gellner, “Monastic Initiation in Newar Buddhism” in RichardGombrich (ed.), Indian Ritual and its Exegresis, Delhi: Oxford University Press, Oxford University Papers on India, Vol. 2 Part I, 1988, p 53.Back to text

5. Ramji Tewari et. al. (eds.), Abhilekh Sangraha (A Collection of Inscriptions), Part V, Kathmandu: Samsodhan Mandal, 2020 B.S., p. 8.Back to text

6. Hari Ram Joshi, Nepalko Prachin Abhilekh (Ancient Inscriptions of Nepal), Kathmandu: Royal Nepal Academy, 2030 B.S., p. 523. Back to text7.Pasuka, Vol II, No. 11, N.S. 1118. Back to text8.For the list of practices see John K. Locke, “The Unique Features of Newar Buddhism”, in T.Skorupski (ed.), The Buddhist Heritage (Buddhica Britannica I), Tring : The Institute of Buddhist Studies, 1989, pp.84 -85.Back to text

9. George. N. Roerich, The Blue Annals, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986,pp. 374-375. Also see Min B. Shakya, A Short History of Buddhism in Nepal, Kathmandu: Young Buddhist Publication, 1986, pp. 33-34. Mahakaruna’s Tibetan name isThugs-rje-chen-po. Back to text

10. Ibid, p. 375Back to text

11. The eight Bodhisttvas are- Manjusri, Vajrapani, Ksitigarbha, Khagarbha, Samantabhadra, Gaganganja, Sarvanivarna Viskambhi andMaitreya. Back to text

12. Gellner, op.cit. f.n. no. 4, p. 61.Back to text

13. I. B. Horner (tr.), The Book of the Discipline (Vinaya Pitaka), Vol. IV, London : Luzac & Company Ltd., 1962, p. 15.Back to text

14. Locke, op.cit. f.n. no. 8, p. 104.Back to text

15. Ibid, p. 105. Back to text

16. Allen, op.cit. f.n. no. 3, pp. 1-10.Back to text

17. Perhaps Acharya Anupamavajra preferred to this Deity yoga because of histantric leaning. Back to text

18. Ramesh Chandra Negi (tr., ed.) Atishavirachita Ekadasagranthah, Saranath : Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, 1992, p. 99.Back to text

19. W. Y. Evans-Wentz (ed.), The Tibetan Book of Great Liberation, London : Oxford University Press, 1954, pp. 176-77.Back to text

20. Tsang Nyon Heruka, The Life of Marpa the Translator, Boulder: Prajna Press, 1982, p. 130.Back to text

21. Joffrey Hopkins (tr.) Tantra in Tibet. New York : Snow Lion Publication, 1977, p. 47.Back to text

22. Richard Sherburne (tr.), A Lamp for the Path and Commentary, London : George Allen and Unwin, 1983, p. 12. Back to text[/wr_column]]

The Introduction

Newar Buddhism is tobe classified in the tradition of Indian Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism derivingits lineages from Siddha tradition of Nalanda and Vikramashila monasticuniversities. However, it has developed its peculiar characteristics which areone of a kind in the Buddhist history. One should not forget that Newar Buddhismpossesses quite a number of indigenous elements, which are not to be found inIndian Mahayana Buddhism. Now that Mahayana Buddhism has disappeared from India,Newar Buddhism found in Kathmandu valley represents one of the few tradition inthe world which has retained features inherited directly from India. At one timeall forms of Buddhism were believed to have been found in the Buddhism ofNepal.At present, there areno longer any celibate monks among Newar Buddhist Sangha. The members ofcommunity live in Vihara and have retained its designation (Sangha).There are two statuswithin caste communities namely Vajracharya (Literally: Master of the Thunderbolt)and Shakyabhikshu. The Vajracharyas were the masters of Tantric Buddhism andritual specialists whereas the Shakyabhikshus were Buddhist monks. TheVajracharyas played a higher role than Shakyas because they were given additionalinitiation (Achaluyegu) on Buddhist tantra. Only the male members ofthis community after having undergone the rite of monastic ordination (skt:Cudakarma) belong to the Sangha. Shakya and Vajracharya boys normallyundergo this monastic ordination at the age of five, seven or nine. The rule isthat they should be under twelve years of age.Elders of themonastery addressed as Sthavira Aju will give them Pravrajyavrataor monastic initiation. The initiated boy stays in the monastery for 4, 10, 16, 20, 25 yearsfor Buddhist studies. After finishing his studies he disrobes himself for hislay Bodhisattva life. To facilitate his spiritual career, he goes throughmarriage ceremony. When the couple receive instructions on Buddhist practices,they would be given Vajracharya Abhiseka or Acharya Abhiseka.It forms one of theseries of life cycle ritual.[1] It should also be noted that Newar Buddhism hasno place for higher ordination (Upasampada) by which a novice monkbecomes a fully ordained Buddhist monk. The fact that Newar Buddhism has noplace for monastic life upgrading except for the four-days observance seems tobe a serious weakness [2] to the modern Buddhist and to the western educatedpersons.Newar Buddhism has recently become the subject of great interest and detailstudy on different aspects for Siegfried Lienhard, Joohn K. Locke, David Gellner,Michael Allen and others.[3]

The unique features of the Newar Buddhism and validity of its monasticism isanalyzed in this article. Newar Buddhists describe their structure of religionas integrative in the nature of Shravaka, Mahayana and Vijrayana traditions.Shravakayana in Newar Buddhism

To explain Newar Buddhism and its integrative behavior, it is befitting to givean account of monastic rite when young boys receive ordination (skt: Cudakarma). Before the neophyte’s topknots are cut off, a ritualizedexchange between the disciples and the preceptor is supposed to take place. Itruns thus:[4]“OhGuru, in accordance with your instruction, from this day, and until I haveattained enlightenment I shall go for Lord Buddha’s blessing (Sri BhagavaanYaake Darsana Wane)Thus the guru isrequested, supplicated by him.The Guru says, “I ofsuch and such name go for refuge to the Buddha. I go for refuge to the Dharma. Igo refuge to the Sangha. While this Mandala remains, give up desire (skt: trsna).” (You, as pupil should say) “Oh Lord ! Oh Guru, greatlycompassionate. For the rest of my life, Ten Akusala Karma must be givenup, and other sins, various words-now I shall save beings and so forth.”

The pupil says, hearing this instruction, “O Lord, O Guru (as you are here)killing and so on I despicably as you say, Oh lord, Guru, you have graciouslyspoken I must go”.The Sanskrit versionof ritual handbook runs as follows: kulaputra idanimgrhinama evam pravrajyavratam dharayam ; sakyo si va sakyoh?(Now, son of goodfamily, are you capable or not of taking up the observance of going forth as youshould?)
The pupil says: bho acarya mamatmamepravrajyavratam vamcayami; krpam kuru tvam, aham itthamnama yavajjivam buddhambhagavantammahakarunikam sarvajnamsarvadarsinam sarvavairya bhayatitam mahapurusam abhedyakayam niruttara-kayam,dharmakayam saranam gacchami gananam agram.(Oh ! My preceptor I wish to undertake the observance of goingforth, please be compassionate. I of such and such name, shall for the rest ofmy life go for refuge to the Lord Buddha who is greatly compassionate, allknowing, all seeing, beyond the danger of all enemies, great man, of indivisiblebody of the ultimate body, the Dharmakaya, foremost in all religious groups.)The Guru says, sadhu sadhu kulaputra grhalingamparityajya pravrajyalingam sakyo si trisatyam eva kuru(Welldone, well done, son of good family swear three times that you are capable ofabandoning the insignia of a householder and taking up the insignia of thegoing-forth)The pupil says, bho acaryopadhyaya pravrajyavratamsakyami niscayam trisatyam(Ohpreceptor and taking up the capable of the observance of going forth (I declareit is true) three times.
The Guru says, abhunaham pravaksyami srnu vatsamaharatah-vratacare kathascaiva pancasiksa vidhiyate pranam na hanyat na pibecca madayam mrsa na bhasya na haret parasvam (madanasvabhavam parisamisadya),svargan ca gacched grhavat naranam, punas ca. himsa kale tatha nunam smanasavacasa pi va.(NowI, the greatly delighted one, shall explain. Listen dear one, the five preceptsfollowed in this observance are laid down with explanations. He should not killany living being, nor drink any alcohol, lie are not to be uttered, he shouldnot take others’ goods. He should not act lustfully. If he does all this, hegoes to a heaven with other men though he be a householder. Furthermore, desireto kill even for a particular occasion even in mind or speech is wrong.)tasmat himsa na kuryanialpayus ca bhavet naram. yada mayaratas caiva sarvajnanam parayate. dhavamsanamsarvasastrani tasmat madayam na pibayet, mrsavadaratas caiva manyahinam sadabhavet. tena mithya na sevanti duhkhapamkesu jayate. paradravyanulobhenamahaduhkhesu jayate. daridravarnapamkesu paradravyani naharet. kamakrda sadacarisada duhkhi bhavisyati. sada bhayam sada kastam tasmat kamam na sevayet. itiupasakacarya(Therefore, desire to killis not to be done. (Otherwise) a man’s life is short. When men are addicted todrinking, all knowledge and all learning is destroyed. Therefore, he should notdrink alcohol. He who is addicted to telling lies will also be despised. Hisfalsehood will be useless; he will be reborn in the mud of suffering. Bycovering what belongs to others one is reborn to great sufferings (sunk) in themud of wretched untouchability, so, he should not take others‘ things. He whoalways indulges in sex and love games will always suffer. Forever fear, forevermisery. therefore, he should not pursue physical pleasure. This is the conductof the layman.) Then the disciple promises,aham itthamnama yavajjivampravrajyavratam dharayami samanavaharantu mam upadhayaya.(I, of such and such name,for all my life take up the observance of going-forth. Bear witness for myassistant priest)After such a marvelousdialogue between the Guru and his disciple, the priest proceeds to performnecessary rituals.Now the neophyte’s topknot (Nep: Tupi) is cut off with a gold plated razorwhile reciting this mantra:Om sarva jnana avarana chedaya chedaya hum phat(Cut cut all obstacles to understanding)The absence of topknot is perhaps the most crucial marker of the distinctionbetween Shakya, Vajracharya Buddhists and the rest of other castes in the Kathmandu valley. After consecration by holy water from whiteconch shell, theboys are given a new name and three robes. They are given begging bowl and astaff (silaku), which has an effigy of the Buddha (or of a Stupa) at the top.They are permitted to enter into main shrine of Vihara and pay homage to Kwapadya andmake offerings. Newar Buddhists are very much attached to this four daysobservance of monastic ideal to maintain one’s Buddhist identity rather thanrenouncing the worldly desires and become a Buddhist monk.Duties of a SakyabhikshuThe Shakya Bhikshu, who observe four days of going forth as part of Vajrayanaritual in the Nepalese style are required to observe some specific duties:

  • For the four days the Shakyabhikshu must beg his food daily,
  • Must live the life of a Buddhist monk though they continue to live at home.
  • They have to observe the regulations of diet of the monk
  • Avoid contact with unclean (association with dogs and shoes), and
  • Keep ten precepts.

The neophyte receives his first alms from the senior ten elders (DasaparamitaSthavira Aju) of the monastery and his family Buddhist priest. During the tenureof his monkhood he must visit the main shrine and pay homage to Kwapadya (maindeity) and make offerings.On the fourth day the neophyte returns to the lay life. The boy then hands overthe begging bowl and staff, and takes off his robes. It is calledChudakarmavisarjana. Since the topknot is nevermaintained by Sakyabhikshu even after disrobing ceremony they are given thestatus of Sakyabhikshu. The disrobing ceremony does not signifythe abandonment of monastic vows but transition from Sravakayana to Mahayanapractice. They remain as Bodhisattva.It is difficult to pinpoint the exact time when the system of celibatemonasticism disappeared in Nepal. We are certain that celibate monks existedeven during the seventh century. Chinese pilgrim Xuan Zang (Hsuan-tsang) hadmentioned in his travel diary that the number of Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhistmonks were more than two thousand.An inscription of Amshuvarma has also confirmed a conspicuous presence ofBhikshuni Sangha belonging to the Mahasanghika sect[5] as well as MahasanghikaBhikshu Sangha.[6] The inscription mentions:tad prayojane ca caturvimsa mahayana pratipanna
aryabhikshunisamgha paribhauga akhayaniviNow, the question arises as to what was the Vinaya lineage of Newar BuddhistTradition. At present, we come across difficulty in finding parallel referencein the Chudakarmavidhi tradition with Mahasanghika or Mulasarvastivadatradition. A newly discovered inscription in Bhaktapur also suggests a presenceof Mahasanghika Bhikshuni lineage.[7]Duties of Buddhist Sangha in Newar Buddhist Vihara

The duties of elders are to oversee the daily, monthly, and annual Buddhistfunctions and festivals. They also organize initiation into Bhikshu Sanghai.e.(performance of Chudakarma, Achaluyegu ceremony of initiatedmembers’ offsprings)as well as regulating the discipline of the Sangha and social rules.

All the male members who are initiated in Mahavihara constitute the Sangha.Mahavihara has a Guthi which include all the initiated members. Thesenior-most memberof the Guthi of the Vihara is addressed as Mahasthavira, and the Chakresvara andother elder are addressed as Sthavira Aju.

In the Viharas ofKathmandu as well, daily worship of the main deity (kwapadya) enshrinedin the Vihara is performed. At one time, the Viharaof Kathmandu Valley also had a complete schedule of rituals for the whole day.This is no longer in practice except at Janabaha in Kathmanduand Kwabaha in Patan.[8]Among these ritual practices the recitation ofNamasangiti, Danagatha, AparimitaDharani, Saptavidanottara Puja Strotra, Dasaparamita Strotra, andBuddham trailokya Stortras are the most prominent ones.Besides, the recitation ofAstasahasrikaprajnaparamita, Pancharakshya and NavaSutra are the scriptural bases of the Newar Buddhism. However,meditation on Samatha and Vipassana is definitely lacking. Those Vajracharya andShakya who had received the initiation on Cakrasamvara or Achaluyegu, however,meditate for some time on deity yoga and some recitation only. Nowadays aVajracharya or Shakya very rarely perform the retreats for intensive practice.Duties of a Bhikshu Sangha in a Theravada MonasteryThe Buddhist monastic or the ordained Sangha has played a crucial role inkeeping alive and passing on the lineage of the teachings and practice since thetime of Buddha himself. Every Buddhist monastic community has some commonreligious and devotional exercises each day. It is brief and simple in Theravadamonasteries, for example: Buddhapuja, and Paritrana, as well as Mangal Sutrarecitation in ceremonial and Kathinotsava occasions. In regular occasions, theTheravada monks give the instructions on the practice of Samatha and Vipassanameditation for the lay followers.Duties of Bhikshu Sangha in the Tibetan Monastery

In most of the Tibetan monasteries, at about 4 A.M., monks usually gathertogether with the morning bell. They clean up the floor and offer prostration tothe main deity of the monastery and some begin to offer water bowls and decoratethe altar with butter lamps. Monks gather to perform first torma(ritual cake)offering by ceremonial tea. Then they recite texts on Guru Yoga, Vajrasattva,Tara Puja and Long Life Buddha.

The forms of Guru Yoga (Padmasambhava and his lineage in case of Nyingmatradition) may vary in each tradition but the plan is however similar in nature.After formal group recital some silently sit in meditation until 7 to 8 A.M. Ifthe sponsors have some specific puja they continue it until its completion.Sometimes they go out to the sponsors’ residence and do personal practices in theirown apartments or rooms. In some monasteries, small novice children (thaba)usually read and write Tibetan grammar and English in the afternoon. They reciteby hearing small ritual texts.In the afternoon around 5-7P.M., monks get assembled for performing Puja ofprotective deities like Mahakala and so forth. Sometime monks have to performPuja on the founder’s birthday or Drubchen ceremonies. The ceremonial ritualsmay continue sometime even for two months at most and week at least. For Sakyapathe tutelary deity ceremony of Hevajra (a Highest yoga tantra deity) last forten days.In most of the Gelugpa monasteries, especially Kopan Monastery where facilitiesare available for the resident monks, the full time study program includesBuddhist philosophy, debate, English, Tibetan, Nepali language classes and Thangkapainting. Monks are trained to become teachers, meditation Masters andtranslators.In some great Kagyu and Nyingma monasteries namely Kanying and Sechenmonasteries where there are facilities, the resident monks and novices do havean opportunity for higher philosophical studies such as Bodhicaryavatara ofShanti Dev and Pramanavarttika of Dharamakirti. Most of the monasteries are runby the support and donations from individual benefactors and sponsors. The abbotof the each monastery hold responsibility for the function of the monastery.It should be noted that Tibetan Buddhist monasticism is also based on Mahayanaand Vajrayana. It has two types of Buddhist monks: celibate Buddhist monks andTantric Buddhist Master with consort (Ngakpa Lama). Both of them wear maroonin ceremonial puja.To become a Tantric Buddhistmaster one should have thoroughly gone through training undera competent Buddhist Master and gone for retreats for at least three years andshould have some degree of realization. When his realization is authenticated byhis lineage Guru, he is authorized to act as the Vajra master. Because of highdegree of realization of the tantric master in profound doctrines of Buddhism,they are given higher status than the celibate monk scholars. This tradition isvalid and substantiated by the Buddhist Sutras and Tantras.To cite few examples, in the seventh century Chandrakirti revered MasterChandragomin for his proficiency and dexterity in Namasangiti doctrine. Gampoparevered Guru Milarepa as his root Guru for realization of Mahamudra. VenerableRwa-Lotsawa (Rwa lo-tsa-ba Dorse-grags) revered Nepalese Vajracharya Bharo forhis realization of Vajrabhairabha doctrine. He also revered his Guru Mahakaruna(Ye Rang ba) of Patan who mastered in Tantra under his guidance.[9] He mastered inSambhara tantra, Samputatantra, Chakrasambara Heruka abhyudayanama,VajrabhairvaTantra and several other tantras.[10] The Vinaya lineage of this Tibetan traditionis Mulasarvastivada tradition.Mahayana / VajrayanaThe Newar Buddhists, like Buddhists everywhere, take refuge in the Buddha, theDharma and the Sangha. In the Mahayana and Vajrayana context, the Buddha is ofcourse, Sakyamuni Buddha. But in Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, the FiveTathagatas (Panch Buddhas: Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha andAmoghasiddhi) are well known in ritual than the historical Buddha.The Dharma is realization of Prajnopaya namely unity of wisdom and skilfulmeans. The texts are Vaipulya sutras: Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita,Gandavyuha, Dasabhumikasutra, Saddharmapundarika, Suvarnaprabhasa,Lankavatara, Samadhiraja,Lalitavistara and Tathagataguhyaka Sutra. These texts are recognized as theofficial texts. They are recited at various times, and the books are worshipped. In fact, worship isfavored than scholarly study.

The Sangha is of course the Bodhisttva Sangha. Much of the devotional life ofthe people revolve around the worship of eight Bodhisattvas,[11] especially Avalokiteshvara and Manjushree. Avalokiteshvara is recognized as the head ofeight Bodhisattvas. He is the representative of Sangha of Bodhisattvas. Just asin Theravada Buddhist tradition the Bodhisattva Sangha is excluded, similarly inNewar Buddhist tradition Shravaka Sangha is excluded. Since the emphasis is laidon Mahayana/Vajrayana tradition of Buddhist Sangha it would be unwise to expectBuddhist Sangha of Newar Buddhists in Theravada context.
In Newar Buddhist tradition,it seems to be no harm in giving Shakyaputra thestatus of lay Buddhist monk provided that they maintain refuge and Bodhisttvavows or even tantric samaya.The rationale behind the abandonment of Shravaka practice is given in disrobingceremony of Chudakarma (Ne: Barechuegu). As part of ritual there is always adialogue between the Guru and the disciple. It thus goes-Oh, LordGuru ! By your grace I have undertaken the vow of going forth first, given theten unproductive sins in accordance with the five precepts and eight preceptsand carried out the disciple’s path. Now I shall take up the path of Mahayana.The Guru says: Very good, lay disciple, take up the path of Mahayana. Take upthe practice of the great lord of liberation, the Guru Vajrasattva, lord ofmystic circle.[12] What is the practice of the Mahayana like? Listen and I will tell you the most fundamental of religious practicesunique to the Mahayana which can never be fulfilled without a consort. Nor can theMahayana or its observance be complete without tantric initiation. How much moretantric initiation is necessary for liberation. Therefore, you, knowing theultimate god and goddesses who as skill-in means and wisdom (Prajnopaya), takeup the practice of Mahayana and abandon that of the Shravaka.In these versions, entering the Mahayana under the instruction of the Guru canmake up the fault of abandoning the monastic vow. Taking consort for Buddhistpractice has been a general theme for Tantric Buddhist practitioner. The idea ofSwayamvara and Marriage has been a life cycle ritual as described inKriyasamuccaya of Jagaddarpana Acharya (Mahamandalacharya).Exploring Celibacy in Bhikshu Sangha of Newar Buddhist TraditionThe Buddha often placed Dhamma first and then the Vinaya in relevance to histeachings. According to the Buddha, Vinaya is the most important of theTripitaka (three baskets) for the survival of the Sasana. Vinaya rules are usedfor regulating outward conduct of the individual and the collective practice ofthe Sangha. Dhamma is for inward development and the attainment of a good life.Celibacy is considered as holy and good in most of the religions of the world,especially within the Buddhist Sangha of Theravada and Mahayana tradition. AsBuddhism is spread in Western countries, the practice of celibacy is beingcritically questioned for the first time. In those places, many people considerthe voluntary abstention from sexual activity which is strange or unnatural.If celibacy is a sole Buddhist religious ideal, then the student ofBuddhism can find those Japanese and High Tibetan Lamas whose marriages areaccepted by their cultures? Are they all subject, by their religious principle,to ostracism as sinners then?History shows that the practice of celibacy is as old as asceticism in India,much older than the historical Buddha himself. Buddha was born, there wereascetics who practiced celibacy as a spiritual discipline conductive to theattainment of enlightenment. Although celibacy was quite common, the practicemay not have been very strict since some ascetics (rishis) took their wives withthem to practice asceticism in solitary places of India. When Buddhataught celibacy as important commitment to his disciples, celibacy came to beheld in highest regard for its own sake as well as for the pleasing impressionit created in pious lay people. Once the strict practice of celibacy had becomea strong norm, its transgression came to be seen as a sinful thing.In his first sermon the Buddha mentioned sexual intercourse as a base or low actperformed by common people as opposed to monks. He said that addiction toattractive sensual pleasures and addiction to self torture are both extremepractices. Since, as extremes, they are inconsistent with the middle path leadingto nirvana.[13] In Theravada tradition, Buddha had to prohibit every kind ofsexual behavior by member of the Sangha community as unfit acts and had topunish him or her through formal meeting of the Sangha.Only the willing celibate is a proper candidate for ordination, but others mayseek it. The monks’ unmarried life is individually free. A monk can devote allhis time and energy to spiritual development. But if he is not active inspiritual practices there is nothing special about his monkhood. It is bothwaste of time and painful restraint on his freedom in terms of sexual activity,especially when he longs for it.According to Parajika rules of Vinaya, the ordained monk who has violated thenormal code of celibacy loses his monkhood. Such a monk cannot attain liberationor Nirvana. It should be noted that the ultimate aim of the practice of celibacyis to eradicate the mental defilement- greed, hatred, and delusion.
The fulfillment of celibacy is said to be the attainment of Nirvana.

In Newar Buddhist tradition, Bahi are said to be the repositories of celibatemonastic tradition. When celibate communities existed, if celibate monks decidedto become householder monks, they left their monastery and joined a bahi[14]According to John Locke’s hypothesis, two institutions namely celibate andnon-celibate existed side by side from the earliest days. Gradually, as aresult of the dominant tradition of becoming married number of celibate monks (brahmacharyabhikshu) decreased.[15] Locke confidently declares the celibate communitieswere always in minority even from the Licchavi and Thakuri period..Since the Buddha advocated the path of restraint or renunciation in Shravakayanapractices, the ultimate aim is the attainment of abiding Nirvana (Skt.pratisthita Nirvana). But in Mahayana/Vajrayana form of Buddhism, the Buddhaadvocated the path of transformation for his advanced bodhisattva disciples. Hetaught the doctrine of Great Bliss and Emptiness to attain the state ofBuddhahood (Skt: apratisthita Nirvana i.e. Non-abiding Nirvana). In this form ofteaching Buddha Vajradhara made use of lust or even sexual bliss in the path toenlightenment. From the point of view of Theravada tradition this view can bemerely a joke. On the other hand Tantric Buddhists regard their practice asauthentic in view, meditation, practice and function (drsti, dhyana, carya) and blameless in ideal asthe Middle path of the Buddha.Newar Buddhism as a Lay Bodhisattva PracticeIt seems that there had been a provision for lay Buddhist monkhood which becamevery popular in the valley of Kathmandu. The validity of this tradition was alsocorroborated by the text “Siksasamuccaya” of Acharya Shanti Deva. It runs thus:punara aparma kulaputra bhavisyanti anagata
adhavani grahstha pravajita adikarmika bodhisattva.
The meaning of the text is as follows:Again, oh, Sons of the family, there will be the householder beginner
(Skt:adikarmika) and ordained bodhisattvas in the future.Concerning Adikarmika Bodhisattva Acharya Anupamavajra stands prominent. Hiswork had a great influence on Nepalese Buddhist tradition. It is surprising andinteresting to note that Adikarmapradipa which was composed in 1098 A.D. byAnupamavajra had profound impact on the daily practice of Newar Buddhist societyeven till today. To state briefly, Adikarmapradipa deals with the following practices of Newar Buddhists.

  • Taking Refuge in Triple Gems
  • Reciting Namasangiti
  • To recite Bhadracarya Pranidhana
  • To offer Preta bali
  • To circumambulate Caitya, Buddha statues etc.
  • To perform Gurumandala rite
  • To meditate on tutelary deity
  • To recite Prajnaparamita and other Mahayana Sutras
  • To recite danagatha (stanzas of giving)
  • To perform Bodhisattva practices joyfully
  • To study Buddhist scriptures
  • Offering food to Triple Gems and tutelary deity before eating
  • Offer fivefold prostration to Buddha of ten directions
  • Sleeping in a lion’s posture after meditating on Deity Yoga

According to Newar Buddhist tradition, even after disrobing ceremony ofCudakarma, the Shakyas and Vajracharyas do not cease to be bhikshu or Buddhistmonks, but they pass from the state of celibate bhikshu to that of householdermonks (grihasthibhikshu),a fact underlined by the term Sakyabhikshu used to refer to them down ages.In disrobing ceremony the following lines arearticulated about the status of bhikshu.
You have gone through Sravakayana and now comes to Mahayana, the greatest ofthe Buddhist Yanas. You have participated in some Vajrayana rituals and aftergoing through some higher ordinations you will know what Chakrasamvara is.[16]The Impact of Master Atisha’s Teaching on Newar BuddhismMaster Atisha who wroteBodhisattvakarmadimargavatara also propounded theconcept of the Adikarmika Bodhisattva practice. Since Atisha was contemporarywith Anupamavajara and Advavajra, both of them have borrowed the idea of layBodhisattva practice from him.

  1. Atisha first emphasized the practice of refuge and generation of Bodhicittaon the basis of sevenfold practice (skt : saptavidhanolttara puja) Newar Buddhists are proficient in performing “sattvapuja” (verse 5 of Adikarmapradipah).
  2. He also promulgated the theory of moderation of consuming food habits andfood offerings to Gurus and three jewels (verse 10-11).
  3. With a view to teach the whole sentient beings one should recite profoundMahayana sutras (like Prajinaparamita and so forth)(verse 7).
  4. After completing one’s morning duties one should practice the act of fivefoldprostration to Triple Gems with a view to liberating all other sentient beings and should sleep in lion’s posture of Atisha aftercompleting one’s devotional exercise(Caryasamgraha pradeepa, verse14). [17]
  5. One should practice the unity of Samatha and Vipassana and should realize theemptiness of all body and ephemeral nature of all phenomena. WhereasAnupamavajra mentions only the necessity of practice of Deity yoga (Caryasamgraha pradeepa, verse14).
  6. Offering one’s food to tutelary deities and Dharmapala before eating meal isone fundamental daily practice of Adikarmic bodhisattva(see Caryasangrahapradeepa, verse 11).

By analyzing these references we can conclude that Atisha’s teaching had greatinfluence on Newar Buddhist tradition too. Atisha’s reformation in Buddhistmonasticism is well known in Tibet. He tried his best to uplift Buddhistmonasticism during his sojourn in Nepal. He composed Caryasamgraha Predeepa, andVimalratnalekha nama to enhance the monastic ideal of Newar Buddhism. He evenstrongly prohibited the act of taking initiation of Highest Yoga Tantra formonastics. Because of short duration of his stay in Nepal his influencecould not be seen and got strengthened. Later Anupamavajra superseded Atisha’sinfluence because of his tantric teachings.Decline of Celibate Monasticism

Now the question arises why Newar Buddhists prefer to be Grihastha Bhikshurather than to be celibate monks. There has been a constant conviction among thehistorians or local Buddhists that celibate Buddhist monks existed in the NewarBuddhist tradition until the advent of King Jayasthitimalla in the 15thcentury.There is a hypothesis that King Jayasthitimalla alone could not have wiped out thecelibate monastic tradition of Newar Buddhism. But as a matter of fact, the decline of celibatemonasticism in Nepal started long before his coming to power. He had to witnessthe total disappearance of celibate monastic tradition by activating so-calledsocial reformation. We can guess that there were only a few celibate Buddhistmonks even during Atisha’s period. Atisha established a pre-Kadampa monastic order.He ordained a prince and named him as Padmaprabha. One of his monk friendsdue to growing influence of Buddhist tantrism, had asked Master Atisha forpromulgation of non-tantric Mahayana Buddhist doctrine. Accepting his requestMaster Atisha had composed Caryasamgrahapradipa [18] to comfort him.There might have been two causes on the decline of celibate Buddhist monasticsystem of Newar Buddhist tradition. These are:

  1. Lack of royal patronization, and
  2. Impact of Vajrayana Buddhism

a. Lack of royal patronization

If we research and analyze deeply the historical background of other Buddhistcountries, it becomes clear that a strong patronage from a ruling circle isessential to maintain the celibate monastic community. While considering theevents since Buddha’s period, his monastic community was well and fullypatronized by King Prasenjit, King Bimbisara, King Ajatasatru, and in laterperiods, Emperor Ashoka, King Kaniska, King Harsha Vardhana, and some other Palaand Sena Kings too had patronized the Buddhist Sangha.When Islamic invasion took place in important monasticcenters of Buddhism inIndia, the muslims ransacked and thoroughly destroyed them. With no supportersfor monastic community, the Sangha could not thrive in India, ending up with itstotal disappearance.On the other hand, the Buddhist monastic Sangha thrived and flourished with thesupport of Kings and wealthy patrons in Tibet, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma andsome other Southeast Asian countries. The decline in monastic community could beclearly seen in the withdrawal of active support and patronage from the rulers.The same reason can be applied to Newar Buddhist monastic community too. Due tothe lack of support from Hindu rulers of Kathmandu valley, the celibate monastictradition could not survive, let alone flourish.b. Impact of Vajrayana Buddhism
To describe the presence of celibate Buddhist monks during the transition periodfrom 880 to 1200 A.D. of Nepalese Buddhist history would be only speculativerather than factual.The emergence and flourishing of Vajrayana Buddhism and its associated cultswere distinctly visible due to the activities of Mahasiddha tradition of HighestYoga Tantra in Nepal and India. The rise of Vajrayana Buddhism paved the way forthe growth on non-celibate monastic tradition in India, Nepal and Tibet till theadvent of Atisha (982-1054). It is a fact that with the rise of Vajrayana,celibate Buddhist monastic traditions began to dwindle and then slowlydisappeared in Nepal completely by the end of 15th century.The transition period of Nepal witnessed the birth of several outstandingBuddhist Masters of Nepal who were well versed in Tantric Buddhism. NepaleseBuddhist Masters had constant touch with the Indian and Tibetan BuddhistMasters.According to Padma Kathang, a treasure text of Nyingma tradition, Buddhist Master Guru Padma Sambhava is said to have visitedSankhu, Pharping and other places in Kathmandu valley and diffused TantricBuddhist teachings around the eighth century. He took two female disciples called Sakyadevi and Kalasiddhias his consorts for the practice of Atiyoga sadhana.[19]Guru Paindapa and Chitherpa were the famous and gifted disciples of Naropa (10thcentury). Marpa (11th century), the great translator of Tibet, had stayed in the Kathmandu valley for three years to study Anuttarayoga Tantra under Paindapa andChitherpa. According to the biography of Marpa, he received teachings onCatuhpith Tantra and Cakrasamvara Tantra from these Nepalese Guru at RatnakaraMahavihara (Ha Baha) of Patan.[20]

The study of Highest Yoga Tantra among these great Masters is a commoncurriculum of their tantric studies. It is generally thought that the practiceofhighest Yoga Tantra is not fit for every body. For people who lack necessaryqualifications, Tantra is said to be extremely dangerous. Such people cangreatly harm themselves if they enter into tantric practice. Thus, the DalaiLama cautions: Tantra is not appropriate for the minds of many. If one’smental continuum has not been ripened by the practices common to both sutra andtantrasuch as realisation of suffering, impermanence, refuge, love, compassion,altruistic mind generation, and emptiness of inherent existence, practice of theMantra vehicle can be ruinous through one’s assuming an advanced practiceinappropriate to one’s capacity. Therefore, its open dissemination isprohibited; practitioners must maintain secrecy from those who are not vesselsof this path.[21]Those who are judged to be suitable receptacles for tantric initiations aresworn to secrecy. The initiates are required to take a series of vows (Samaya),one of which is not to reveal tantric teachings openly. The promisedretributions for breaking the vows include painful suffering in “Vajra hells”reserved for those who transgress their tantric promises. It involves takingmany types of initiations. Four of the most important are:

  1. Kalasa abhiseka (Vase empowerment)
  2. Guhya abhiseka (Secret empowerment)
  3. Prajna abhiseka (Wisdom empowerment)
  4. Sabda abhiseka (Word empowerment)

The first involves giving initiation using water in a vase and is found in allfour tantra sets. The other three are used only in highest yoga tantra. It istaught that receiving vase initiation causes to attain the rank of NirmanakayaBody of the Buddha.The secret, knowledge and word initiation, sometimes involve practice with aKarmamudra (actual consorts) and ingestion of impure substances. The Karmamudraand substances may be either imagined or real in Tibetan tradition. But inNepalese tradition use of real Karmamudra is stressed while taking acharyaabhiseka too. The followers of these tantras use the desire in the path toenlightenment. They can transform energy of sexual desire into blissful wisdomconsciousness. Through Deity Yoga, they enhance the experience of wisdom andcompassion. The ultimate goal of these practitioners is the attainment ofBuddhahood in one life time. Since these involve sexual practices, the celibacyof the monkhood is dangerously threatened. That is why Atisha in his Bodhipathapradeepa strongly prohibited the monks from practicing Highest Yoga Tantra for it endangerstheir celibacy of monastic vows. According to Atisha Dipamkara, lay Bodhisattvalife is much more favorable for the practice of Highest Yoga Tantra disciplinesas stated in Bodhipathpradipa:For attaining Bodhisambhara in a simple way it has been set forth in the KriyaandCarya (action and practice) ways. If one is desirous of the practice ofGuhyamantra by pleasing the Guru, one receives the complete Acharyabhiseka. Blessedthus, you will purify all the negativities and become suitable vessel to achieverealization. In Adi Buddha Maha tantra, it is strictly prohibited that secretwisdom initiation is not the privilege of the celibate monks. The ordained onewho abides in the asceticism can receive that initiation, the vow of asceticismwill degenerate due to the practices of restrictions. The practitioner will bedefeated, downfall will arise, due to which he will fall among the lower realmsand never will there be realization.[22]If this is so why Newar Buddhists take risk in being a celibate monk and atthe same time practice Anuttara yoga tantra? That’s why, their preference to be a lay Bodhisattva practitioner is most likely one. Atisha also gives an option thatthose monastics who are highly advanced practitioners, and have perceivedpermission from the authentic Masters, for them there is no prohibition toreceive these four initiations and practice. Later on, Tantric Masters began togive these initiations without taking students’ qualification into consideration and the Sanghasuffered a lot. This resulted in a swift decline of monastic Buddhism in Nepalese Vajrayana tradition.ConclusionWe have just discussed the nature of Newar Buddhism as being faultless accordingto the textual tradition. But if it is not reinforced with practice and study, it mightbecome an obsolete religion. The purpose of this article is not to glorify the Newar Buddhism but present the existing situation. It is true that layBodhisattva practice is valid tradition authenticated by Siksasamuccaya ofShanti Deva. Thus the Newar Buddhism cannot be said to be corrupt form ofBuddhism as some are tempted to allege. All forms of religious principles arefollowed by Newar Buddhists too.Therefore, it isnecessary that Newar Buddhists should revive and receivethe lost teachings of Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism from Tibetan Buddhist Mastersto bridge the gap of lineage of practice that has been ignored and lost in away.If we could create some celibate Buddhist monks practicing Newar VajrayanaBuddhism then the structure of Newar Buddhism can be complete.In order to achieve this goal, a good relation and interaction with Theravadaand Tibetan Buddhist monks should be established.It is true that four days of observance of monastic vows are too symbolic incharacter. It lacks the foundation of monastic upgrading. So the Theravada monkswho were trained in Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka even charged Newar Buddhistmonasticism with having no ground at all. The basis of their charge is thatNewar Vajracharya and Shakyas are lay Buddhists and they are not monks. As it isdiscussed, the sustenance of Buddhist monasticism is very difficult if notimpossible without the support and cooperation from the government. Nepal haspreserved Buddhist Sanskrit literature. Nepalese scholars can contribute a lotto Sanskrit Buddhism. There are yet many unexplored areas ofBuddhist culture and practices among the Newar Buddhism. At last, to conclude,the words of Suniti Kumar Chatterji, the famous Indian Buddhist Scholar, is worthmentioning:
One great service the people of Nepal did particularly the highly civilized Newars of the Nepal valley, was the preservation of all the manuscripts ofMahayana Buddhist literature in Sanskrit, it was the contribution of Sri Lankato have preserved for human kind the entire mass of the Pali literature ofTheravada Buddhism. This was also on to Burma, Cambodia and Siam. It wassimilarly the great achievement of people of Nepal to have preserved the equallyvaluable original Sanskrit texts of Mahayana Buddhism

NOTES & REFERENCES

*This paper was presented at the Seminar on Nepal Mandala organized by Lotus ResearchCentre.
**.Min Bahadur Shakya is a Lecturer at Engineering Campus, and a Visiting Lecturer at the Central Department of Buddhist Studies, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur. He is also the Founder and Director of Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods, Lalitpur.

1. Acarya Kriyasamucaya mentions 10 life cycle rituals to be performed. They are as follows: (1) Jatakarma (2) Namakarma, (3) Annaprasana (4) Cudakarma(5) Chudakarmavisarjana (6) Vajracaryabhisekha, (7) Svayambara, (8) Bibaha, (9) Dikshya and (10) Sthavira.The author of Acharyakriya Samuccaya is Mahamandalacharya Jagaddarpana. The Brihat Suchipatra mentions 3 copies of the text in the Bir Library in 1964; Purna Ratna Vajracharya, Brihatsuchipatra, Vol. 7 pt 1, Kathmandu: Bir Library, 2021 B.S., pp. 53-59.Backto text

2. Heinz Bechert and Jens-Uwe Hartmann, “Observations on the Reform of Buddhism in Nepal”, Journal of the Nepal Research Centre, Vol. VIII, 1988, pp. 2-6.Back to text

3. Siegfried Lienhard, “Nepal: The Survival of Indian Buddhism in a Himalayan Kingdom”,
– H. Bechert and Richard Gombrich (ed.), The World of Buddhism, London: Thames and Hudgson, 1984, pp. 108-114.; John K. Locke,Karunamaya: The Cult of Avalokitesvara Matsyendranath in the Valley of Nepal, Kathmandu: Shahayogi/CNAS, 1980. ; John K. Locke, Buddhist Monasteries of Nepal, Kathmandu: Sahayogi Press, 1985.; Michael Allen, “Buddhism without Monks – The Vajrayana Religion of the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley”, South Asia, 3 (1973), pp. 1-14. ; David Gellner, Monk, House Holders and Tantric Priest: Newar Bhddhism and its Hierarchy of Ritual, London: Cambridge University Press, 1992.; Stephen M. Greenwold, “The Role of the Priest in Newar Society” in JamesFisher (ed.) Himalayan Anthropology, The Hague: Mouton, 1978, pp. 483-503.Backto text

4. David N. Gellner, “Monastic Initiation in Newar Buddhism” in RichardGombrich (ed.), Indian Ritual and its Exegresis, Delhi: Oxford University Press, Oxford University Papers on India, Vol. 2 Part I, 1988, p 53.Back to text

5. Ramji Tewari et. al. (eds.), Abhilekh Sangraha (A Collection of Inscriptions), Part V, Kathmandu: Samsodhan Mandal, 2020 B.S., p. 8.Back to text

6. Hari Ram Joshi, Nepalko Prachin Abhilekh (Ancient Inscriptions of Nepal), Kathmandu: Royal Nepal Academy, 2030 B.S., p. 523. Back to text7.Pasuka, Vol II, No. 11, N.S. 1118. Back to text8.For the list of practices see John K. Locke, “The Unique Features of Newar Buddhism”, in T.Skorupski (ed.), The Buddhist Heritage (Buddhica Britannica I), Tring : The Institute of Buddhist Studies, 1989, pp.84 -85.Back to text

9. George. N. Roerich, The Blue Annals, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986,pp. 374-375. Also see Min B. Shakya, A Short History of Buddhism in Nepal, Kathmandu: Young Buddhist Publication, 1986, pp. 33-34. Mahakaruna’s Tibetan name isThugs-rje-chen-po. Back to text

10. Ibid, p. 375Back to text

11. The eight Bodhisttvas are- Manjusri, Vajrapani, Ksitigarbha, Khagarbha, Samantabhadra, Gaganganja, Sarvanivarna Viskambhi andMaitreya. Back to text

12. Gellner, op.cit. f.n. no. 4, p. 61.Back to text

13. I. B. Horner (tr.), The Book of the Discipline (Vinaya Pitaka), Vol. IV, London : Luzac & Company Ltd., 1962, p. 15.Back to text

14. Locke, op.cit. f.n. no. 8, p. 104.Back to text

15. Ibid, p. 105. Back to text

16. Allen, op.cit. f.n. no. 3, pp. 1-10.Back to text

17. Perhaps Acharya Anupamavajra preferred to this Deity yoga because of histantric leaning. Back to text

18. Ramesh Chandra Negi (tr., ed.) Atishavirachita Ekadasagranthah, Saranath : Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, 1992, p. 99.Back to text

19. W. Y. Evans-Wentz (ed.), The Tibetan Book of Great Liberation, London : Oxford University Press, 1954, pp. 176-77.Back to text

20. Tsang Nyon Heruka, The Life of Marpa the Translator, Boulder: Prajna Press, 1982, p. 130.Back to text

21. Joffrey Hopkins (tr.) Tantra in Tibet. New York : Snow Lion Publication, 1977, p. 47.Back to text

22. Richard Sherburne (tr.), A Lamp for the Path and Commentary, London : George Allen and Unwin, 1983, p. 12. Back to text