In order to create an awareness in Buddhist studies among Nepalese elite mass a Buddhist Book Exhibition was organized by Nagarjuna Institute at Royal Nepal Academy Building. Ven. Chusang Rinpoche blessed the exhibition by inaugurating it. During the exhibition a comprehensive number of Buddhist books about 3000 on Sutras, Sastras, Buddhist history, iconography, meditation manual, liturgical texts, commentarial literature and modern books on Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism were displayed. Large number of people, scholars as well as teachers visited this unique exhibition. Some comments from the visitors:
Mr. Purna Bahadur MA-Patan,
Such exhibition will help create more and more awareness and activities.
Mr. Uttar Singh Lama-Kavre district.
I really appreciate this exhibition and hope same affairs will continue in the near future.
Mr. Ram Bdr. Thapa Magar-Udaipur
It is very useful to the knowledge and wisdom for study.
Dr. Christoph Cuippers-Nepal Research Center
very well arranged
Mr. Anup Thapaliya
Excellent exhibition but price of the books is very high!
Nepal Heritage Society and its sister organization Nepal Vihara Foundation, with a view to preserve and inform about the condition of Buddhist monasteries of Bhaktapur a decision to carry out researches on the Baha and Bahi of Bhaktapur was made. A contract was signed between Nepal Heritage Society and Mr. Min Bahadur Shakya- the director of Nagarjuna Institute. Mr. Shakya was appointed as a coordinator of this survey to carry out the researches in Bhaktapur between Feb-April. After three complete months of survey the report is prepared in May. An abstract of the reports is given blow:
Bhaktapur is one of the least developed Buddhist cities in the Kathmandu valley. Many Bahas and Bahis have been lost in oblivion due to utter neglect of the ruling party of the city government in the past as well as present. Out of twenty monasteries surveyed in Bhaktapur town area, Tombaha near Kamal Pokhari, Bishva Baha, and Yan baha have no more than a single caitya and a few stone sculptures scattered here and there. Muni Vihara and Kutu Bahi have turned into a full fledge Theravada Buddhist monasteries stripping all its Vajrayanic symbolism. Akhandashila vihara, which claimed the historic connection with Licchavi King Narendra Deva who brought Lord Avalokiteshvara to Kathmandu Valley is no more than a dilapidated house structure with an old chaitya in the center. The main court yard of this vihara at present is being used by potters for drying their utensils. Hardly any Buddhist activities take place there. Lumbavarna vihara at Sukuldhoka has converted into a full-fledged Hindu shrine where a temple of Bhimsen of Mahabharat epic has established. There remained no shrine room for main deity of Vihara except a caitya and some stone sculptures scattered.
Among the popular viharas of Bhaktapur, Caturbrahma vihara of Durbar Square, Dipamkara vihara of Kwathandu Tole and Adipadma vihara of Suryamadhi Tole are comparatively organized ones where there are system of Guthis to perform various Buddhist activities-Dipamkara festival, Pancadana festival and Navadana festival. In this group Prasannashila Vihara also seemed to be fairly well organized. In Jhaurbahi near Golmadhi Tole, the Kwapadeo shrine is almost collapsing. Local non-Buddhists seemed to use this place as feast making court yard where even buffaloes are killed. No one seemed to have taken interest in reconstruction of this vihara. The concept of grant from local municipal authorities to conserve the site is almost an impossible idea. Local Buddhists cannot even venture to raise the question of reconstruction of vihara for intense anti-Buddhist sentiments of Local Municipality authorities. Tathubahi near Bhaktapur Mini Bus Park is one of the best specimen of renovated vihara sponsored by Nepal/German Bhaktapur Development Project. But that Bahi housed a lower secondary school also is posing a serious threat to Vihara care taking committee. Few years ago the boundary walls of this vihara were demolished by Municipal authority. One cannot perform any Buddhist activities at the premise of this bahi because there are strong resistance from school authorities.
One of the major problem for the Bhaktapur Buddhists is not getting official ownership certificate of Baha and Bahis of Bhaktapur so that tyhey can commence the work of reconstruction of these abandoned deserted or crumbled viharas when they have financial support. Local government authorities give much harassment to the local innocent Buddhists who in spite of their best and arduous efforts to preserve their vihara. One such examples is the case of Indravarna vihara of Inacho area. It seems there are three factors in the decline of Buddhists monasteries and Buddhists in Bhaktapur.
1. The ruling dynasty was always Hindu since Malla period (880. A. D.) and exerted a tremendous pressure on local Buddhist populace.
2. Local populace’s occupation depended entirely upon agricultural, they could hardly support Buddhist Viharas. Furthermore, they were not wealthy people unlike Tuladhars, Kansakars and Shakyas of Patan and Kathmandu.
3. Lack of organization structure in Buddhist community as in Patan and Kathmandu.
In conclusion, if we could not work out a concrete step for the conservation of these handful of monasteries it would probably disappear in the near future, leaving behind Bhaktapur devoid of Buddhist culture.
On behalf of The Corporate Body of Buddha Education Foundation, Mr. Chin Lun Kao- the secretary of the foundation kindly donated 1267 volumes of Buddhists Books to Nagarjuna Institute Library. As a gesture of gratitude the Board of Directors of the Institute has decided to regard The Corporate Body of Buddha Education foundation s Patron member of the Institute. The titles are as follows:
- Treasury of Truth (The illustrated Dhammapada)
- Prince Good speaker
- Pure Land Pure Mind
- The Buddha’s Ancient Path
- The love of Life
- Buddhist Thought and Meditation in the Nuclear Age
- Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith
- The life of the Buddha part I & II
As usual this year also Nagarjuna Institute conducted its summer session-Buddhist Studies Program at the premise of its office. About twenty students participated in the program. The classes started at 5:30 PM on every Saturday, Sunday and Monday two hours each. During the course, the students studied the following topics.
- History of Four Tibetan Buddhists Tradition i. e. Nyingmapa, Kagyupa, Sakyapa and Gelugpa traditions. Led by Mr. Punya Parajuli.
- Twelve Principal Deeds of Buddha, Four Buddhist Councils, life and works of Nagarjuna, Arya Deva, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dingnaga and Dharmakirti. Led by M. B. Shakya.
- Buddha Nature, Precious Human Body, Spiritual friend, Karma and Proofs of rebirth, impermanence, sufferings of samsara, Refuge, Bodhicitta Practice and six perfection. Led by M. B. Shakya.
Nagarjuna Institute organized for the first time “Nepal Buddha Sangha Offering Ceremony” on behalf of Great Awakening Meditation Center as well as Lay Buddhist Association, Taipei at the premise of Royal Nepal Academy Hall. About 50 lay devotees from Taiwan headed by Mme. Hung Yi Shou, the Chairman of Lay Buddhist Association, offered Sangha offering to a group of Buddhist monks and nuns about 1500 in number. In the Sangha offering, there were about 200 Buddhist monks and nuns from Theravada tradition and 1300 Buddhist monks and nuns from Tibetan Mahayana and Vajrayana tradition. At the commencement of the ceremony, Mr. Min Bahadur Shakya, the Director of Nagarjuna Institute offered Welcome speech in honor of the devotees from Taiwan and Buddhist Sangha who participated in the Sangha offering. Later, Mme. Hung Yi Shou spoke about Sangha offering program in Nepal. The speech spoken in Chinese was translated into English by Veteran Taiwanese Buddhist Scholar-Dr. Yo hSiang Chou- the Director of Lay Buddhist Association, Taipei.
Dr. Yo was instrumental in raising the voice in the international arena for the development of Buddhism in Nepal. At present he is actively involved in fund raising for the development of Buddhism in India as well as Nepal. He is at present Vice-president of World Fellowship of Buddhist WFB from Taiwan. Under his patronage Himalayan Buddhist Education Foundation was recently established in the beginning of this year. A number of Buddhist awareness training camps were already launched in several districts of Nepal including Dolakha, Dhading, Bhaktapur, Kavre, Kapilvastu and Lumbini. In the Sangha Offering ceremony, the executive members of Great Awakening Meditation center offered the book “Illustrated Dhammapada” to chief minks and nuns and some foreign journalists from France (Le Monde) and Iran. Afterwards, Theravada Buddhist monks were invited to recited the verses on Suspiciousness (Pali: Mangal sutra) whereas Theravada nuns were asked to recite the verses on loving kindness (Pali: Metta sutta) to bless the occasion. On the other hand Ven. Tsechu Kushyo, leading the monks of Kagyudpa traditions recited the verses on “Praises of 16 arahats” with elaborate traditional musical rhythm. The Buddhist nuns from Nagi Gompa also recited the Amitabha Aspirational Prayer whereas the delegates from Taiwan recited the famous Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra.
In the conclusion of the ceremony Mr. Lok Darshan thanked all the Buddhist monks and nuns who came from about thirty Buddhist monasteries of the Kathmandu valley. After an hour of offerings to the Sangha community the devotees from Taiwan were a given a short reception.
In order to enhance Buddhist studies in Nepal, the Buddha’s birth place- this year Fo Kuang Shan, Kaohsiung, Taiwan invited four students from Nagarjuna Institute to study Chinese Buddhism at Fo Kaung Shan Buddhist Monastery for the period of four years. The names of four students are as follows:
- Mr. Manik Vajracharya
- Mr. Milan Shakya
- Miss. Buddha Laxmi Shakya
- Miss Anjana Shakya
Besides six Nepalese Buddhist nuns are also studying there.
Fo Kuang Shan was established on May 16, 1967. Under the wise leadership of the founder Master, the venerable Hsing Yun, the self less devotion of his ordained disciples and the ardent support of his lay devotees, Fo Kuang Shan has evolved from a mountain top bamboo forest to the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan and an internationally recognized Buddhist site. Dedicated since its very inception to the establishment of the Pure Land on Earth, Fo Kuang Shan has focussed the religious spirit inherited from the ages past on the altruistic activities of the Bodhisattva. By striving to bring to others faiths, happiness hope and comfort from sorrows, Fo Kuang Shan works to actualize a dynamic and humanitarian Buddhism appropriate to the contemporary world.
In order to enhance Buddhist practices among Nepalese students, Nagarjuna Institute organized an empowerment of Avalokiteshvara for the students of the Institute. His eminence Chokling Rinpoche blessed the Institute by giving a brief teaching and short sadhana session. The participants were inspired to meditate on compassion and practiced the sadhana of Avalokiteshvara together with its essence six syllable mantra. Among the gathering of the students, Mrs Grace M. H. Chen, Taipei was also present during the empowerment ceremony. Mrs. Grace Chen was the students as well as the patron of the Nagarjuna Institute.
- Aksesvara Vihara Preservation committee-Patan
- All Nepal Bhikshu Association, Kathmandu
- All Nepal Bhikshuni Association, Patan
- Anila Sangha, Nagi Gompa, Kathmandu
- Ananda vihara Campus, Patan
- Buddhist Youth Group, Kathmandu
- Baudha Pustakalaya, Patan
- Byoma Kusuma Translation Committee, Kathmandu
- Bir Purna Library, Patan
- Jnanamala Bhajan Sangha, Swayambhu
- Jyotidaya vihara Sangha, Chapagaon
- Lotus Research Center, Patan
- Marme Lhakhang, Swayambhu
- National Library, Patan
- Progressive Tharu Youth Association
- Padma Kanya Campus, Kathmandu
- Padmavati Pustakalaya, Patan
- Sumangala vihara, Patan
- Tharu bhasa Sahitya Parishad, Saptari
- Tribhuvan University Library, Kirtipur, Kathmandu
- Vishva Santi Library, Patan
- Youth Buddhist Association, Bhaktapur
- Young Men’s Buddhist Association, Patan
- Yuva Pustakalaya, Hakha, Patan
Nagarjuna Institute in collaboration with Padma Kanya Campus (Women’s College) Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology organized classes on Buddhism. During the four days of Buddhist study program two lectures viz Mr. Sridhar Rana and Mr. M. B. Shakya taught the students about 120 including professors of the department about the following topics.
- Four Noble Truths according to Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions; led by Mr. Sridhar
- History of Four Tibetan Buddhist Traditions; led by Mr. Sridhar Rana
- Doctrine of Karma and rebirths; led by M. B. Shakya
- Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism; led by M. B. Shakya
- Practice of Bodhicitta; led by M. B. Shakya
At the conclusion of the teaching program Mr. Shakya on behalf of Nagarjuna Institute donated books on Buddhism to Mrs. Ranjana Bajracharya, Head of the Department, for the use of Padma Kanya Library.
With a view to popularize the traditional Vajrayana Buddhism of Nepal, Nagarjuna Institute organized “Astamatrika Uposadha Ceremony” at the premise of its office at Chakupat, Patan. On the request of Mr. Sridhar Rana and his disciples, Pandit Ratna Raj Bajracharya performed Uposadha vrata of Astamatrika rituals with extensive details together with elaborated mandala drawings. During Vrata ceremony Pandit Ratna Raj Bajracharya explained the origin of Astamatrika deities, their iconography, sadhanas, mantras and method of worship in details. Astamatrika ritual is usually performed for the removal of obstacles in the path of dharma as well as peace and happiness of the country. Guru Ratna Raj Bajracharya is one of the few knowledgeable Bajracharyas of Nepal. The part of the ceremony expenses was sponsored by Cultural Heritage Conservation Organization, CHCO, Patan.
Venerable Hui-Ming, a Buddhist monk from Taichung Charity Temple and Taichung Tsu-Shan Buddhist college visited Nagarjuna Institute at 2.30 PM with his group of disciple about 50. The director of the Nagarjuna Institute informed Ven. Hui Ming about institute’s activities by offering the publications “Buddhist Himalaya” and the newsletter “Dharmadhatu” to all the visitors. An exchange of gifts took place between the Institute and Ven. Hui-Ming on behalf of Taichung Tsu-shan Buddhist College. Ven. Hui Ming was the former abbot of Fo Kuang Shan branch at Hsi-Lai Temple in Los Angeles and of friendship and cooperation, he became a member of Nagarjuna Institute on behalf of Taichung Charity Temple.
In order to revive tradition Vajracharya Buddhism of Nepal, Pandit Ratna Bajracharya of Chuka Baha, a descendant of famous Jamana Gubhaju of Patan performed an extensive uposadh ceremony of Pancaraksa Deities. The uposadh ceremony was requested by Mr. Sridhar Rana, an eminent Teacher of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. About 60 participants observed uposadh of five protectress deities. Pandit Ratna Raj Bajracharya prepared an elaborated mandala of colored powder with traditional offering substances. During the Uposadh ceremony the particiapants were informed about the procedure of the worship, meditation, mantra and sadhana or iconography details of the five deities. It is believed that five protrectress deities are the most popular deities in Nepalese Buddhist pantheon. The order of these deities is as follows: Mahapratisara, Mahasahasrapramardani, Mahamayuri, Mahasitavati and Mahamantranusarini. The characteristics feature of each deity is that Mahapratisara protects us against sin, illness and other dangers. Mahasaharsapramardani protects against evil spirits, Mahamayuri protects against the venominous snakes and cobras, wold animals and poisonous insects. Mahamantranusarini protects against illness.
In order to enhance Buddhist studies in Nepal, Nagarjuna Institute sponsored three young Newar students who were sent to Sera Monastic University Sermey Tsangpa Khangtsen, P. O. Bylakupee, Mysore district, India. These three students will study in the Monastic University for Geshe degree. The names of the students are as follows.
- Mr. Gyan Ratna Maharjan – 19 yrs, now Ven. Thupten Tenpa
- Mr. Buddha Maharjan – 18 yrs, now Ven. Ngawang Tenpa
- Mr. Buddha Raj Maharjan – 9 yrs- a novice monk
Those who are interested to study for Geshe degrees are requested to contact Nagarjuna Institute.
A group of doctors and scientists headed by Prof. Dr. Muldashev, the chief of the “International Expedition of Humanity Origin Research” visited Nagarjuna Institute with a view to understand Buddhist approach to these scientific researches. His team includes following members:
- V. Lobankov- Deputy of the expedition. geophysicist,
- S. Seliversstov- Co-ordinator of the expedition
- V. Yakovleva- Biologist, specialist in anthropology
- V Gafarov- Specialist in face anatomy.
The aim of the expedition was to collect and analyze the data to support the hypothesis that the contemporary civilization started its existence in Tibet. The objective of the expedition are:
- To analyze the geometrical parameters of the Tibetan race and to study their change with distance from Tibet.
- To analyze the geometry of the eyes depicted on the Tibetan temples.
- To analyze the data obtained by N. Roerich regarding the hypothesis studied.
- To study the challenges of the eye mathematics parameters with the altitude increase.
During discussions, many questions were raised on the nature of Buddha eyes and their inner meaning, impact of Samadhi on eyes, difference between the state of samadhi and hibernation process of some animals etc.
Nagarjuna Institute in collaboration with HTTC organized Buddhist classes for Tourist Guide Training courses. About 65 graduate students and travel agency personnels participated in the program. The classes were held at the premise of HTTC Central office, Kalimati, Kathmandu. During the classes, instructor M. B. Shakya taught the following subject.
- The Life of Lord Buddha
- Four Noble Truths
- Eight fold Paths
- Karma and Proofs of rebirths
- Mahayana Buddhism
- Practice of Bodhicitta
- Wheel of Life
- Iconography of Five Buddhas
- Introduction of Vajrayana Buddhism.
With a view to introduce Buddhist teachings to college students Nagarjuna Institute conducted special classes on “Bodhisattva way of Life” to a group of college students at the premise of Institute’ s office and to a group of Bajracharya students at Nyakhachowk, Lalitpur simultaneously in two sessions. About forty five students participated in these classes. During the classes, the students studies intensively on the following topics.
- Fundamental of Vajrayana Buddhism
- Buddha Natur
- Four Mind changing Practices i. e. Precious Human birth, Impermanence, Karma and suffering of samsara
- Refuge and Bodhicitta
- Practice of Bodhicitta
- Six Perfection
- Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra
Nagarjuna Institute recently organized “Refuge and Bodhisattva vows ceremony” in order to revive traditional Vajrayana Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley to a group of students about 50 in number. The ceremony was blessed by Ven. Karma Thinley Rinpoche-the celebrated author of “Life History of Sixteen Karmapas”. The ceremony of Refuge and Bodhisattva vows was basically organized for the students who participated in Buddhist Studies Program of Nagarjuna Institute as well as Vajracharya Ritual Training course. Rinpoche performed the ceremony in the tradition of Manjushree/Nagarjuna/Santi Deva lineage of Profound Path of Mahayana Buddhist tradition.
2. A newsletter called Dharmadhatu No. 7 August 1996 has been published (in your hand) incorporating the report on the seminar “Buddhist Interaction between Nepal and Tibet” and on going activities of the Institute.
3. Under the scheme of Nepal Buddhist Text Translation Project NBTTP, we have undertaken the Nepali translation of four important sutras. They are as follows:
a.Arya Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Pranidhana Sutra.
b.Arya Anityata Sutra
c.Arya Avalokitanama Mahayana Sutra
d.Arya Bhaisajyaguru Vaiduryaprabha Pranidhana Sutra.
The translation project of these sutras are sponsored by Himalayan Buddhist Education Foundation, Patan. We welcome sponsors for publications of these translated sutras for the wide diffusion in Nepal. Those interested are requested to contact the director of the Institute.
4. Nagarjuna Institute is publishing two important Buddhist texts. They are as follows:
a.Arya Guna Karandavyuha Sutra (Newari Translation p. 500) Sutra on the qualities and philanthropic activities of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara)
b.Atisha and his teachings (containing Nepalese translation of Atisha’s texts on Bodhipath pradeepa, Carya Samgraha pradeepa, Vimala Ratnalekha, Bodhisattva Maniavali and its commentary)
Both of these texts are sponsored by Mr. Bhakti Das Shrestha.
1 Ven. Master Hsing Yun. Fo Kuang Shan, Koahsiung, Taiwan
2 Ven. Tarthang Tulku, Nyingma Institute, Berkeley, California.
3 Dr. Yo Hsiang Chou, Taipei, Taiwan.
4 Mrs. Grace M. H. Cheng, Taipei, Taiwan.
5 The Corporate Body of Buddha Education Foundation, Taiwan
6 Ven. Shih Hui-Ti, Taiwan
7 Mr. Sanu Ratna Sthapit, Jyatha, Kathmandu, Nepal
8 Mr. Bhakti Das Shrestha, Panipokhari, Kathmandu, Nepal
9 Mr. Puskar Man Shakya, Pulchowk, Laltipur, Nepal
10 Rev. Syucho Takaoka, Buddhist Library, Nagoya, Japan
11 Mr. Thupten T. Anyetsang, Jawalakhel, Handicraft Center, Patan
12 Mr. Gyan Jyoti Kansakar, Thahity, Kathmandu.
1 Mr. Nhuche Bahadur Bajrcharya, Chhauni, Kathmandu
2 Mr. Gopal Maharjan, Patan
3 Mr. Pradip Bajracharya, Patan
4 Mr. Rakesh Awale, Patan
5 Mr. Ram Krishna Sangat, Devpattan, Kathmandu
6 Mr. Louis Gabaude-Chiangmai, Thailand
1 Taichung Charity Temple, Taichung, Taiwan
Individual Members (1996)
1 Mr. Kanchan Chitrakar, Koteshvara, Kathmandu
2 Mr. Hiroko Nakatsuka, Osaka, Japan