Dr. Milan Ratna Shakya, Head of Central Department of Buddhist Studies (C-DOBS), Tribhuvan University, is Associate Professor of Nepalese History, Culture and Archaeology (NeHCA). He taught at Central Department of NeHCA, Tribhuvan University from 1989 to 2009. Illustrator and Cartoonist at Gorkhapatra Sansthan, his works featured in Gorkhapatra and The Rising Nepal, and later on he also served as Senior Artist and Art Coordinator.
Reputed painter of landscapes in water colour, surrealistic paintings in oil, and traditional paintings in acrylic, his works have been exhibited at national and international exhibitions since 1980.
Former Council Member of Royal Nepal Academy, he is the author of a number of books: Ganesa in Medieval Nepal, The Cult of Bhairava in Nepal, Aestheticism of Durga in Nepal, Manjusri Cult of Nepal Valley, Ancient Stone Images of Buddha & Bodhisattva in Nepal and Namo Buddhaya: A Buddhist Study.
This book is the effort of a decade long journey of my teaching and writing of Nepalese history, religion, culture, and art after earning a Ph.D. on "The Concept, Art-form and Aestheticism of Ganesa in Malla Period (c.1200 —1769)" in 2005 from Tribhuvan University. It further inspired me to publish Ganesh in Medieval Nepal (Rupa & Co., 2006), The Cult of Bhairva in Nepal (Rupa & Co., 2008), Ancient Stone Images of Buddha & Bodhisattva in Nepal (CNAS, Tribhuvan University, 2011), The Culture & Aesthetics of Durga in Nepalamandala (Adarsh Books, 2012), and Namo Buddhaya: A Buddhist Study (Buddhabhava, 2013).
The present book contains the revised and refined version of the papers I presented in international seminars and conferences in Poland (1990), Finland (1998) and lectures delivered at Cyber University of Seoul, South Korea (2010) including the gist of my keynotes, talks and papers I gave in Sikkim (2004) and Dhaka (2006).
I would like to thank Mr. Madhab Lal Maharjan, Chief Executive of Mandala Book Point, for his encouraging comments right from the beginning of this project and expertise to make it a success. My appreciation also goes to Mr. Nirmal Karn, Managing Director of Adarsh Books, for kindly agreeing to print this book of mine.
Finally, I would also like to express my gratitude to my family without whose support this project would not have been materialized. My wife, Srijana Devi Shakya, my son, Dr. Milind Ratna Shakay and my daughter, Dr. Shristi Shakya including my mother-in-law, Menaka Devi Shakya assisted me in many ways to accomplish my publication mission with their motivation, encouragement, and patience.
I hope that the present book would make a contribution to Nepalese history, religion, culture, and art paving the way for further studies.
Nepal's heart of the Kathmandu valley is cultural as 'Nepala Mandala', in sacred and liturgical sense for a circuit of Buddo-Hindu ceremonial nebula. Its holy realm is mystic in mythical ritual for sacredly deep-seated in cult practice. Its precise historiography begins with scientific social premise of Paleolithic remains of Ramapethecus's molar jaw called Tinaupethecus found in Kharseuli, Butwal of Lumbini in west Nepal. Its archaeological cogency is of Old Stone Age tenant from Sivalik ranges in this country. Its Paleolithic setting was strange to religious beginner about historic fact to enliven with belief for generations to ethno-cultural rule in civilized man. This is hopeful to sacredness as dignified to endure with existence rather than sanitized mind in the name of Dharma. It ruled social belief to coerce in certain basis of divine existence as genuine cultural self for the resident of world. It gave a sacred integrity in cultural life for a native basis of civilized man by faith to origin in this earth as world citizen. This civic rule of specific area begets roving cult to grow in human environment with limited view for modern logical theory. It supports the relation with ethnic psyche, more than ‘vijnana’ as mental process for citta' in sacred ethno-cultural basis. In which, cognizance rules on things that occurres in attraction and dissolving of dislike like a dream in virtual mind's thought. This outcrop of mind's thought is proven by philosophical vision (darsana) sensible to ritual practice (sadhana). This doctrine is rooted in the theory of Mandala for toilsome attempt to gain auto-consciousness in idea of Giuseppe Tucci.
In Guhyasamaja tantra, Mandala remixes with the deluge of sub-consciousness in return of fixed nexus of mind into the higher awareness experienced during the meditation. It is the secured status of oneness with void `Sonya' as the infinite spirit. Mahapundit Abhayakaragupta mentions, Bodhi-citta is Bodhi mind an individual soul as Bodhisattva. It is seemingly separated from the Universal Soul as Sonya, due to ignorance, since the first quarter of twelfth century.
This number of psyche becomes ‘Bodhi-citta' in respect of fully conscious-mind as ecstatically animated from undifferentiated Bodhi-mind. Giuseppe Tucci eludes this in concept of Maya-, as illusion. It is Mithya to Sankaracharya (c.788-820) and `Mithya-ditthi' to Pali Buddhism. Its value goes real in practice of science to blend with esoteric cult in precise way. Next, it frequents in cosmic process as power of creation in life. Its basis is to end the life-circle' by own weight within the time cycle in given space. It means easily germinating, culminating and devastating nature of the world in oblivion. Hence, it is redolent in symbolism of triangular, circular, square or hexagonal shapes in a lotus seat. It roots on transient nature to standby its points as module of life in space. In this way, Mandala is a symbolism of life cycle, Jivan-cakra, as to be predicted after reading a horoscope chart. Thus, its manifold terms denotes the activity of life in brief passing by experience of a wheel, Bhava-cakra in Buddha's teaching, of cause and effect, Pratitya-Samutpad.
Mandala is stylish for Buddhist origin in Newar cultural belief of the Kathmandu valley. One is vaguely aware to its inner light that shines like a spot-light of moonless-night in each being. This is the reality for praising of new year by promising hope for the goodness to next by body-worship, ‘Mha-pujei' to esteem with Mandala in practice. It meant one section of Newar. Observing 'Brahma-puja for cosmic dedication, which is understood by people of Nepah in medieval time for the body worship, with admission of Yogic cakra-puja, namely prevailing in ritual as Cekah-puja, after the admission of Gheranda Samhita in Hatha-yogin practice of Gorakhanatha's followers. It was met with the philosophical admission of Minapad and Matsyendranath in Buddhism. Thenceforth, the term of `Brahma-puja is set in habit as Mha-puja, in perversion of the word Brahma to Mha.
Thus, a life is perceived in a circuit of cosmic elements, like water, earth, fire, wind and atmosphere. It is set in Buddhist conscience of beginning with Guru-Mandala for the beginning of auspicious and Garbhodbhava-Mandala to origin the life as creation of the world to celebrate each day as new and birthday with rotation of a Mandalic calendar. Its windup is deemed in a farewell from Bhu-Mandala, a person's absence is celebrated by Durgati-Mandala. Here, a person exhausts one after another realms to its reach. This is one-way to review the ritual of Durgati-Parisodhana-Mandala making practice in sanctification of death rite by four days after a person's demise in general. It admits the ethereal journey after demise like Buddha's passing is respired on Yea Dhamma Sanantano.
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