The UofT/McMaster Yehan Numata Buddhist Studies Program presents a reading group and lecture on Buddhism in Nepal:
ALEXANDER VON ROSPATT (University of California Berkeley)
The Sacred Origins of the Svayambhucaitya and the Nepal Valley. Foreign Speculation and Local Myth, and
The Mural Paintings of the Svayambhupurana at the Shrine of Santipur, and their Origins with Pratapa Malla
THURSDAY, November 7, 2013, UTSG, JHB 317, 4-6 pm
To receive the reading materials, please contact Christoph Emmrich at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reflections on the Coexistence of Buddhist and Hindu Traditions in the Historical Nepal. The Case of the Old Age Rituals among the Newars
FRIDAY, November 8, 2013, McMaster, University Hall 122, 4-6 pm
The seclusion of the Kathmandu Valley at the periphery of the subcontinet has allowed for the survival of religious traditions obsolete in India proper. This includes Mahayana/Vajrayana Buddhism, which here alone persists in its original South Asian setting with Sanskrit as its sacred language. In its ritual practices it often corresponds to the Hindu traditions with which it coexists in the Valley. This holds good notably for the performance of elaborate life cycle rituals (samskara), which pattern the lives of Buddhists and Hindus alike. While most of these rituals are shared with other traditions across the subcontinent, this includes also childhood and old age rituals that are (largely) unique and have evolved in the Kathmandu valley at the intersection of Buddhist and Hindu ritual traditions. The talk will focus on the series of old age rituals performed both in a Buddhist and Hindu idiom. Besides introducing to this unique practice, the talk will probe into the ways in which Buddhist and Hindu forms of practice are here intertwined.
ALEXANDER VON ROSPATT is Professor for Buddhist and South Asian Studies, and director of the Group in Buddhist Studies. He specializes in the doctrinal history of Indian Buddhism, and in Newar Buddhism. His first book (which is forthcoming as a US reprint in 2013) sets forth the development and early history of the Buddhist doctrine of momentariness. His new book The Svayambhu Caitya and its Renovations deals with the historical renovations of the Svayambhu Stupa of Kathmandu. Based on Newar manuscripts and several years of fieldwork in Nepal, he reconstructs the ritual history of these renovations and their social contexts. Prof. von Rospatt is a leading authority on Newar Buddhism, and this book complements numerous essays he authored on various aspects of this tradition, including its narrative literature, and its rituals and their origins and evolution. He currently has two related monographs under preparation, one dealing with the mural paintings and other visual depictions of the Svayambhupura, the other with the life-cycle rituals of old age as observed among Newars and other South Asian communities.
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