golden temple: a unique newar buddhist monastery

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The book describes all facets of Buddhist monastery such as legends, structures,festivals,iconography and so forth.

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Hirayavara MahvihraA Unique Newar Buddhist Monastery

By: Min Bahadur Shakya

Published by: Nagarjuna Publication Pvt. Ltd. 2004 Patan, Nepal

Published by: Nagarjuna Publications Pvt. Ltd Friends colony, Bakhundole Lalitpur, Nepal Tel:5552118 First Edition 2000 copies Buddha Era: 2548 English Era: 2004 Nepal Era: 1124 Cover Photo: Hirayavara Mahvihra Frontispiece: Kvbaju (kyamuni Buddha) Typesetti ng & Layout Design by: Milan Shakya Cover Design: Miroj Shakya ISBN : Price: All rights reserved by the author Printed at: Shakya Printing Press Om bahal Kathmandu/Nepal

A Note from the Publisher There are innumerable cultural and religious sites in Nepal, but authentic books providing systematic and detailed information of them are very few. It is our great pleasure to publish this book on Hirayavara Mahvihra of Patan written by the well-known Buddhist scholar Mr. Min Bahadur Shakya. This is the first book in English to provide authentic detailed information about the famous Newar Buddhist shrine. Nagarjuna Publication is a newly established publishing house, which is dedicated to serve the society through publication of reference books, academic, research and popular books, anthologies etc., without restriction of language and field of subject. We are also interested to publish a series of books on other famous cultural and religious sites of Nepal. We thank all the friends in the country and abroad, including Hwa yue Foundation of Taiwan, for their love and moral support, which Nagarjuna Publication has been receiving since its establishment. Wed like to offer a special thank to Hong Kong Avalokitevara Garden Ltd. for sponsoring the printing cost of this book. Dr. Sarbottam Shrestha Nagarjuna Publications Pvt. Ltd Friends colony, Bakhundole, Lalitpur, Nepal July 1st, 2004

To Whom it may concern It is a matter of great pleasure that a book entitled Hirayavara Mahvihra: A unique Newar Buddhist monastery written by Mr. Min Bahadur Shakya is being published by Nagarjuna Publications Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Shakya is a well known Buddhist scholar who is the member of this monastery itself. This monograph was prepared by him couple of years ago when he was himself the god guardian of the monastery. His writings are well documented and deserves appreciation. I hope this publication will be very useful for all scholars as well as general readers alike.

Yours sincerely

Dharma Ratna Shakya President Hirayavara Mahvihra Vihar Sudhar Committee

Contentsi. A Note From the Publisher ii. Preface 1. CHAPTER I - Introduction: Buddhism in Nepal...................................1-8 Buddhism during the Life time of the Buddha.................................. 1 Buddhism in the time of Aoka............................................................. 2 Buddhism in the Licchav period......................................................... 3 Transitional period.................................................................................. 3 The Malla period...................................................................................... 4 Decline of Celibate Buddhist monastic community in Nepal....... 5 Buddhism in the Shah Period................................................................ 7 2. CHAPTER II - Location and Layout of the Newar Monastery........9-11 3. CHAPTER III - The Chronicle of Hirayavara Mahvihra.......12-14 CHAPTER V - Historical Documents..................................................... 15-17 4. CHAPTER V - Description of the monastery.....................................18-29 Entrance setting......................................................................................18 The Main shrine..................................................................................... 19 Svayambh caitya.................................................................................. 20 Vajrasattva shrine...................................................................................21 Tr shrine.............................................................................................. 22 Majur Nmasagti shrine..............................................................23 Amitbha shrine..................................................................................... 23 Amoghpa Lokevara shrine............................................................. 24 Mahkla shrine..................................................................................... 25 Kalaa/ Guhyevar............................................................................... 26 Prajpramit Scripture..................................................................... 26 Four Metal statues..................................................................................26 Dharmadhtu maala......................................................................... 27 Four Monkeys in the courtyard.......................................................... 27 Yogmvara shrine.................................................................................. 28 Cakrasamvara shrine.............................................................................28

CHAPTER VI - Rituals at the main shrine.............................................. 30-35 CHAPTER VII - Festival at Golden temple............................................36-39 Dpakara/Samyak Festival................................................................ 36 Pacadna Festival................................................................................ 36 Sagha feast festival...............................................................................37 Dpakh Festival................................................................................ 37 Exhibition of the Gods (Bahdyo Boyegu)...................................... 38 Gunl Dharma ceremony.................................................................... 38 BIBLIOGRAPHY.........................................................................................40-42 APPENDIX: SAMYAK FESTIVAL OF PATAN...............................43-54

Hirayavara MahvihraA Unique Newar Buddhist Monastery

CHAPTER IINTRODUCTION: BUDDHISM IN NEPAL RELIGION in the Kathmandu Valley has historically comprised five main traditions. The first is animism, worship of the spirits. The second, most widespread element is worship of the Mother Goddesses and other forms of Dev. The third is worship of the god iva. The fourth is worship of Viu. The fifth tradition is Vajrayna Buddhism the form of Buddhism that has been practiced at Hirayavara Mahvihra since its inception. Buddhism during the lifetime of the Buddha Lord Buddha is believed to have taught the dharma in his home city of Kapilavastu, Nepal. Both the Svayambh Pura and various chronicles (vavals) claim that the Buddhas teachings reached the Kathmandu Valley in his own lifetime, and even that the Buddha himself came here. Even though we have no clear evidence for this, the Buddhas legacy is evident everywhere in the Valley. One early source that refers to Buddhism in Nepal is the Mlasarvstivda-vinayavastu, a Sanskrit work on monastic discipline translated into Chinese by Yixing in 700 CE. It mentions an episode relating to the transport of wool by a group of bhikus who set off for Nepal when the Buddha was residing in rvast. The same text relates that nanda, the Buddhas cousin, also went to the Kathmandu valley. Concerning the introduction of Buddhism to Nepal, John Locke writes:Given the proximity of the valley of Nepal to Lumbini, Kapilavastu and areas of North Bihr, where Buddhism spread rapidly even during the time of the Buddha, it is quite possible that the dharma found its way to the Valley during the lifetime of the Buddha himself. 11

See John K. Locke, The unique features of Newar Buddhism, 1989, p. 97.

1

Chapter i

Introduction: Buddhism in Nepal

Chapter i

Introduction: Buddhism in Nepal

Buddhism in the Aokan Period Emperor Aoka is believed to have visited Lumbini and Kapilavastu, where he erected a pillar stating that Buddha was born there. He also visited all the other places believed to have been associated with the principal events in the Buddhas life. According to Nepalese chronicles, Emperor Aoka visited Kathmandu with his royal preceptor Upagupta. He erected many chaityas here and offered his daughter, Crumat, to a local prince called Devapla. Later, Crumat erected a monastery in her own name and spent most of her life as a nun (bhiku). The monastery erected by princess Crumat still exists today, and is now called Cbahl Vihara. However, it is difficult to confirm that Crumat ever visited Kathmandu, because none of the Aokan inscriptions mention that he had a daughter by that name. In Patan, there are four great stpas in the four cardinal directions. Nepalese tradition asserts that they were erected by the Emperor Aoka himself, and their structure resembles ancient stpas known to have been erected by Aoka. Prof. David Snellgrove writes:Such was Aokas fame as the greatest of all benefactors of Buddhism that his name was readily associated with missionary activities that far exceeded their considerable historical range. If Khotan in the remotest part of Central Asia can preserve traditions concerning its founding as a city state by an imaginary son of Aoka, named Kustana, it is by no means surprising to learn that Aoka personally visited the Nepal Valley, where he founded the royal city of Patan together with its great stpas, each at one of the four cardinal points.2 This city is certainly the early Buddhist city of Nepal, but there is nothing surviving above ground to suggest a date earlier than the fourth century CE.

Buddhist sites are abandoned ruins, the ancient sites in Nepal are still active shrines.3

So although it remains a possibility that Aoka personally came to the Valley, a

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