Sunday-Dec. 12, 1992
A talk program on Traditional Vajrayana Buddhism of Nepal by Pt. Divya Vajra Vajracharya.
Monday- Tuesday, Dec. 13, 14, 1992
A Buddhist Photo Exhibition- Viswa Shanti Library, Patan.
Wednesday, Dec. 15 1992
Traditional Mandala drawings led by Pt. Badri Ratna Bajracharya and the dance of five Buddhas by his students.
Thursday, Dec. 16, 1992
Lama Choepa Performance by the monks of Maitreya Vihara, Swayambhu.
Friday, Dec. 17, 1992
Buddha Puja Performance by Theravada Bhikshu Sangha of Nepal led by Ven Buddhaghosa Mahasthavira.
About Six hundred people were at hand to witness Buddhapuja performance
So as to create an awareness in Buddhist Studies a Buddhist book exhibition was organized by Nagarjuna Institute. The Exhibition was held at the premise of Goethe Institute Hall from Nov. 2-5,1992. Inaugurating the exhibition honorable Minister of Education, Culture and Social welfare Mr. Govinda Raj Joshi who was also the chief guest spoke on the importance of exhibition to enhance the study of Buddhism in the land where the Buddha was born and who delivered the massage of peace to the world. Welcoming the chief guest and distinguished guests Dr. Bajra Raj Shakya, chairman of board of directors of this Institute spoke on the lack of Buddhist education in the curriculum of Tribhuvan University. He also stated that the exhibition was organized with a view to diffuse Buddhist teachings and generating awareness for the importance of Buddhist studies although Nepalese government has the least interest in these direction. In a country like Nepal a full fledge government Institute on Buddhist studies is a must which until now had not been materialized, he added. Mr. Bhakti Das Shrestha, another director of this Institute thanked all the guests and participants to make it a success. Large number of people scholars as well as general public visited this unique exhibition first of it kind in Nepal. Here are some comments from the visitors.
Mr. Sarasvati Ghimire writes:
This show is very substantial and useful for the study of Buddhist philosophy, especially for Nepal where there is no such activity, which is found here in the stall.
Mr. Tika Karky, deputy director of U. S. Corps comments:
This is a very useful exhibition. I had the opportunity of educating myself a bit more about Buddhism. I hope that the organizers will have similar exhibition in future. I thank the organizers sincerely. What a commendable job!
Dr. Franz Kari Ehrhard, Director of Nepal Research Center writes:
Thank you very much for bringing together all the text books on Buddhism.
Karina S. Hansen, Copenhagen, Denmark comments:
This exhibition is a good effort in expanding the knowledge of Tibet an its people. It is only by spreading information and understanding that there can be any hope that Tibet will be returned to the Tibetans.
2. A newsletter called “Dharmadhatu” has been published incorporating institute’s activities in general. This replaces our publication popularly known as BULLETIN.
3. Nagarjuna Institute initiated a Nepal Buddhist Text Translation Project (NBTTP) in order to provide reading materials on Mahayana Buddhist philosophy and practice.
a) We have recently published an important Mahayana Sutra Dharani called “Arya Amoghpasa Hrdaya nama Mahayana Sutra with English and Newari translations.
b) A Newari translation of “Arya Manjushree Namasangiti” with glossary of more than 800 words of Namasangiti text is in the press for publication. The text will contain an exhaustive introduction in English and standard Sanskrit text for recitation purpose. We thank Mr. Hera Kaji Shakya, Hakha Tole, Lalitpur for bearing the expenses for publication.
4. Future Publications: A Series of translated manuscripts are ready for publication. We welcome sponsors who are eager to participate in this meritorious project. Those interested are requested to contact the Director of this Institute.
1. Bodhipathpradeep od Atisha (Nepal Translation)
2. Arya Anityata Sutra (Nepali &Newari Translation)
3. Arya Bhaisajya Tathagata Nama Mahayana Sutra (English Translation)
4. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Pranidhan Sutra (Newari & English Translation)
5. Guna Karandavyuha Sutra (Newari Translation)
1st year course:
1. Twelve principles deeds of Lord Buddha;
2. Four Noble Truths
3. Eight fold paths
5. Five Aggregates, Eighteen elements of Existence and Twelve Sense Sphere
1. Buddha Nature-Precious Human Body-Spiritual friend-Impermanence-Suffering of samsara-Karma and its result-Great compassion-Triple Refuge-Generation of Bodhicitta-Six Perfection.
2nd Year course:
1. Introduction to Madhyamika philosophy.
2. Life and works of Acarya Nagarjuna; Arya Chandrakirti and Shanti Deva.
3. Introduction to Yogacara Philosophy.
4. Life and works of Acarya Vasubandhu, Candragomin, Dignaga and Dharmakirti.
5. Bodhicaryavatara of Shanti Deva.
Vajrayana Buddhism of Nepal is a virgin field yet to explore among Buddhist Scholars of today. It is because of strong attitude of secrecy among Vajracharyas of Newar Buddhism. Prof. Mitutoshi Moriguchi, a well known Japanese Buddhist Scholar was successful in receiving rare initiation from Pt. Ashakaji Vajracharya, called Caturthabhiseka i.e. Initiation of Cakrasamvara in its fourteen aspects according to this bulletin and Prof. Moriguchi have jointly undertaken the research on the topic called Caturdasabhisekha of Newari Buddhist Society. It also will include Japanese esoteric Buddhist rites of Acaryabhiseka. Prof. Moriguchi is a Buddhist scholar versed in Sanskrit and has published Kriya Samuccaya of Jagaddarapana Acarya and few other Vajrayana tracts. He is currently teaching comparative religion in Taisho University, Japan. This rare initiation was organized by Nagarjuna Institute and was conferred on Prof. Moriguchi on the auspicious date of March 27-29, 1992.
Mr. Shridhar Rana, a celebrated Buddhist teacher and practitioner gave a lecture on “Importance of Sunyata in Vajrayana Buddhusm” in the premise of Institute’s Library Hall at Chakupat, Lalitpur.
July 26, 1992
Dr. Natalia Bolsokhoyeva, a Tibetologist from Buryat Institute of Social Science, Ulan Ude delivered a lecture on “Buddhist Activities in Russia” Her lecture was based on new information concerning the history of Buddhism at the different parts of Russia, its history and practice functioning and working in monasteries in Buryat and Kalmyk Republic, Aginsk (Chita areas) and St. Petersburg (Leningrad).
According to her, the first element of Buddhism (Mahayana tradition) in Russia was introduced by Kalmyk people who immigrated from their highland in Western Mongolia during 14th century settled in an area between the Volga and Don rivers. These day Kalmyks, belonging to Mongolia race are still living in the same region.
Buddhism was officially introduced in Russia according to the order (edict) of Empress Ekatherine II in 1741 A. D. Last July the Russian Buddhist had celebrate 250th Anniversary of first introduction of Buddhism. Buddhism reached Russia from Tibet via Mongolia. The majority of population (especially in the region of Eastern Siberia and Buryat) was converted into Buddhism. Traditionally the population of three Republics (Buryat, Tuva and Kalmyk) in Russia believed in Buddhism. Before October Revolution, there were 47 Buddhist temples near Lake Baikal. In 1930’s the official circles had begun anti religious campaign and propaganda. As a result Buddhist temples were closed and part of them destroyed, and many of them were went to prison camps. Only after II World war that Buddhism was once again tolerated in Russia and two monasteries were reopened in Buryati. In small village called Ivolga, a new monastery was built at a distance of 30 km. from Ulan Ude. This monastery is the main center and the residence of the Head of Russian Buddhists. Recently we heard the sad news of the untimely demise of Khenpo lama Munke, 84, the Head of Russian Buddhists.
Since 1985 Russia declared the freedom of religious practices, Buddhists in Russia strongly felt the need for Buddhists activities and education. Eleven Buddhists temples were reopened in the different parts of Buryat Republic and a few of them have been renovated. A number of new monasteries were built. It is interesting to note that local Buddhists in Kizhinga began to construct a huge Stupa identical in shape and size of Bodhnathn Stupa of Kathmandu, Nepal. At the invitation of Kizhinga Buddhists Ven. Chhechu Kushyo Rinpoche performed Sa gzhi bying rlab (Dedication to the Mother Earth) Ceremony. The foundation of this stupa has nearly been completed. In Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) too, in 1990, the temple was reopened which was built during 1909-15 under the leadership of great Buryat scholar Lama Agvan Dorjeev (1854-1983) who played an important role between the XIII th Dalai Lama and the last Russian Tsar-Nicholas II. The abbot of this temple, Ven. Tendzin Khetsun Samayev reorganized the Kalacakra Empowerment ceremony for three days April 16-18, 1992).
Young Students from Buryat, Kalmyk, Tuva and various parts of Russia are now getting unique opportunities to learn Buddhist doctrine at Ulan Ude and Ulan Bator. Now a days many students, from different parts of Russia are taking interest in Buddhists studies. The most populous sect of Tibetan Buddhism in Russia is Gelugpa but in Moscow and St. Petersburg there are many followers of Kagyudpa sect too.
Dec. 27, 1992
Ven. Lama Thupten Zopa Rinpoche, under the invitation of Nagarjuna Institute kindly delivered a discourse on the practice of Sunyata in behavior life and the methods of transforming problems into the path towards Enlightenment, to a group of Newar Buddhists in the premise of Pt. Hem Raj Shakya’s residence in Thaina Tole, Patan. During Rinpoche’s teachings he briefly mentioned his autobiography and his activities in Kopan Monastery.
As in the last year Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche conducted Sixth Namo Buddha Seminar at the premise of Thrangu Tashi Choeling near Bodhnath stupa, Kathmandu. For the first two weeks of the teachings Rinpoche taught Madhyantavibhaga Shastra of Maitreya: Differentiating the middle from extremes. An excerpt from the teachings is given below.
It is one of the five texts of Maitreyanath, The purpose of this text as title suggest is to differentiate the middle path from those of extreme views. It is said that in first turning of wheel of Dharma, Buddha emphasized on the lack of selflessness of the person (Pudgala Nairatmya) only, in the second turning he emphasized on selflessness of both persons and phenomena (Dharma Nairatmya) and in third turning he indicate the hidden meaning of Buddha nature or tathagatagarbha.
Second and third turning teachings contain exclusively on prajnaparamita and other mahayana sutras and implicit teachings on ground, path and fruition of the Mahayana. Who clarified these teachings then? Acarya Nagarjuna clarified the explicit teachings on Sunyata as taught in six works of Nagarjuna and Maitreya Asanga clarified the hidden meanings on Sunyata as described in Abhisamayalamkara.
The text Madhyantavibhaga Sastram consists of five chapters and has seven subjects matters.
a) Characteristics of sentient beings and Samsara
b) Obstructions to omniscience and liberation.
d) Cultivation of Antidotes, situation and attainment of fruition.
e) The supremacy of vehicle
The Sanskrit text of Madhyanta Vibhaga is edited by R.C. Pandeya and its English translation has appeared in Seven works of Vasubandhu by Stefan Anacker. About ten Nepalese students, who were the students of this Institute participated in the seminar and benefited from Rinpoche’s teachings.
Rangjung Yeshe Institute, Kathmandu sponsored its 12th seminar on the topic. “Vajrayana training: The ten Principles” at the Ka-nying sedrup Ling Monastery in Bodhnath from October 6-23, 1992. During two weeks of teachings Ven. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, the spiritual director of Nagarjuna Institute taught the ten principles of Vajrayana training whcih are as follows:
1. Liberate your being through learning
2. Gather from all sources
3. Condense them into a single point
4. Reach eminence in knowledge
5. Progress gradually through empowerment
6. Keep the basis through Samaya
7. Resolve through the view
8. Practice through the samadhi
9. Find certainty through the conduct
10. Accomplish the aim through the instruction
About 150 people participated in the seminar including a dozen of Nepalese students. Last three days of session was held at the premise of a hill behind Swayambhu where Ven. Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche was residing. Ven. Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche taught compassionately the Pointing out Instructions on Buddha nature or tathagatagarbha. Besides, he also taught Four Themes of Gampopa with his direct experience encompassing the essence of all three vehicles.
Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche bestowed the oral transmission (lung) and associated empowerments (wang) of the Dam Ngak Dzod at the premise of Thrangu Tashi Choeling. Bodhnath Kathmandu from May-4-29, 1992.
It was sponsored by the members and associates of his center in Hongkong Thrangu Vajrayana Buddhist center. A brief discussion about Dam Ngak Dzod is presented here. The Dam Ngak Dzod is one of the five great treasuries composed by first Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. These are
a) Sheja Kunkhyen Dzod:- a commentary of the whole buddhist path including art, history, doctrine, etc and structured according to the views of Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
b)Kagyu Ngak Dzod: a collection of Marpa’s teaching about the formal knowledge of ritual, iconography etc. the Shegyuin teachings. It is necessary for an-impeded continuation of the empowerments. The Segyuin teachings Marpa, the translator, transmitted to three foremost disciples and were scattered in many subschools and traditions. The Drubgyuin which guides the disciple to perfection in his practice had transmitted totally to Milarepa, the Tibet’s Great Yogi.
c) The Rinchen Ter Dzod, a compendium of Nyingmapa teachings transmitted by Guru Rinpoche through revelation of spiritual treasures too much later masters.
d) Dam Ngak Dzod: a collection of the essential teachings of the eight practice lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.
e) Thumong Ma- yinpa Dzod: which represents Kongtrul Rinpoche’s own writings which are included in the other treasuries.
As stated above the Dam Ngak Dzod (A treasury of Key instructions) contains teachings of the Eight Main Practicing Lineages of Tibetan Buddhism in Ten volumes. These eight main teachings are;
1. Kadampa teachings
2. Sakyapa teachings
3. Marpa Kagyu teachings
4. Shangpa Kagyu teachings
5. Shi je teachings
6. Kalacakra teachings
7. Orgyenpa and other minor teachings
8. Dzon chen teachings
In general we have many different type of teachings. The word of Buddha (Skt. Buddha Vacana) which are aimed to be adopted by many different people. So we have some teachings with interpretive meanings, some teachings with definitive meaning. The treatises which are more practical when one applies the Buddhas words to oneself, because the different aspects and levels are already defined and separated. The pith instructions , which are unlike the treatises, which establish the meaning of Buddha’s words by reasoning and quotations, can directly be applied to oneself. For that reason the pith instructions 8 types of teachings reached Tibet via Nepal. Each of these great chariots of the practice lineage is a complete set of teachings within itself. In order to maintain the vitality of these lineages Jamgon Kongtrul collected the most important of these pith instructions. However when Jamgon Kongtrul passed on the teachings he started with the Kadampa teachings. Since these lay the foundation of Bodhicitta and give the Dzog chen teachings of the Nyingmapa as last part. We are planning to publish them one by one in our subsequent issues.
The Kadampa teachings brought to Tibet by Atisha (982-1054) has three aspects:
1. The tradition of authoritative scriptures which involves the study of Madhyamika, Vinaya, Abhidharma, Sutra etc.
2. The tradition of oral advice refers to practically developing Shamatha and vipassana, reflection on impermanence, on Bodhicitta, the general mind training practices.
3. The tradition of pith instruction involves empowermwnt in 4-deities of the Kadam tradition, the 16 spheres, etc.
4. The mind training practices focuses mainly on the development of Bodhicitta which has two traditions.
The Approach of the vast conduct transmitted from Buddha Shakyamuni through Maitreya, Arya Asanga, Vasubandhu and so on.
The approach of the profound view has three parts:
a) Preparation with seven branch prayer including homage, offering, confession of misdeeds and so on.
b) Main part where one imagines all Buddhas of the three times and ten directions. One takes refuge and resolves the mind of enlightenment for the sake of all beings and to engage in the activity of 10 paramitas. Since the Bodhisattvas-vows are mere mental vows, it is easy to lose them, But taking them again and again will train one’s mind, the faults decrease and the qualities increase.
c) Conclusion- rejoicing in the great fortune of forming the resolve of Bodhicitta on behalf of oneself and others, we become endowed with the ability to dispel all samsaric suffering and to guide others to liberation.
The Approach of the Vast Conduct develops the Bodhicitta of aspiration and Bodhicitta of application separately. In the Bodhicitta of aspiration one pledges oneself to result. But for the Bodhicitta of application it is not enough to just wish it one has to pledge oneself to the cause of Buddhahood-the practice of six or ten paramitas.
Taking the vow according to the approach of the vast conduct in Bodhicitta of aspiration has three parts.
Preparation and main part are similar to the first tradition and conclusion is to rejoice on behalf of oneself and others.
For the Bodhicitta of application it has again Three parts:
a) Preparation is again for seven branch prayer.
b) Main part is the development of mental strength and fortitude which never becomes weary and tired facing the number of beings to be liberated and the amount of time to accumulate merit and purify obscurations.
c) Conclusion is calling upon all Buddhas to witness our resolve and asking for their help as well as proclaiming the benefits of Bodhicitta and a thanks giving.
The connected Empowerments were the 16 spheres of which the first deity is 11-faced Avalokiteshvara with 1000 arms. This practice is very important to repair and retake the Bodhisattva-vows and he is the essence of 1000 Buddhas of this Bhadrakalpa i. e. Fortunate-aeon.
The 4 deities are Buddha Shakyamuni to generate devotion and taking refuge, Avalokiteshvara, to further develop loving kindness, compassion, and Bodhicitta, Arya Tara to dispel all fears and Acala to remove inner obstacles of Nadis, Prana and Bindu, and the Fourth one is White Dzambala and the dakinis of his mandala and the empowerments of the protector of the Kadam-tradition.
2. Pt. Ashakaji Vajracharya 84 died on Dec, 16, 1992. He was a renowned Newar Buddhist scholar versed in Astrology, Ayurvedic medicine, Avadana literature Carya gita and prolific story teller. He was instrumental in reforming Newar Buddhiat society especially against excessive use of non-vegetarian delicacies in Buddhist rituals. He was prolific speaker on non-violence. He was successful in many cases in covering Newar peasants to Buddhism. He tirelessly performed the act of Uposadha ceremony of amoghapasa Lokeshvara to thousands of Newar Buddhist devotees. He converted many ignorant sentient beings to Buddhist fold by teachings on previous Jakata stories or Avadana literature of Lord Buddha. He published many books on Buddhism and to honor him Bodhi Parishad of Patan awarded him a title of Avadana Ratna for his contribution on Buddhism. His death was an irreparable loss to Buddhist community.
1 Rev. Syucho Takaoka, Buddhist Library Nagoya, Japan.
1 Mr. Harihar Raj Joshi, Naya Bajar Kathmandu
2 Mr. Bekha Ratna Shakya, Jamshikhel, Lalitpur
3 Mr. Mohan Ratna Shakya, Kopundol, Kathmandu
4 Mr. Suchen Shakya, Thahity, Kathmandu
5 Mr. & Mrs. Hans Maibach, Jawalakhel
6 Ven. Chusang Rinpoche, Jorpaty
1 Mr. Samanta Ratna Tuladhar, Hotel Kathmandu, Maharagung
1 Handicraft Association of Nepal, Maitighar
2 Nepal Metal Trading Co. Ltd…, Kumaripaty, Lalitpur