Nepal's position in the development of Buddhism in the Asian region is of immense significance. Nepal has rendered greater contribution in the expansion of Buddhism in countries north of the Himalayas. The Buddhism of Kathmandu that is prevalent at the present time is predominantly of the Vajrayana tradition. It flourished in Nepal in the ancient and medieval times. A section of ethnic Newars of the Kathmandu Valley are the followers of Vajrayana Buddhism. Therefore, the Vajrayana tradition of Nepal is popularly known as Newar Buddhism outside Nepal. However in the northern Himalayan region, Tibetan Buddhism is predominantly prevalent. The Newar Buddhists have preserved the living cultural and religious tradition since many centuries. The rituals they perform are very lively.
Buddhism is a religion of greater importance for the Newars. In spite of its importance, native scholars have not no far published books on Newar Buddhism based on research. This has been a drawback in the present context of Buddhist scholarship in Nepal. Although the Newar Buddhists have published hundreds of booklets on Newar Buddhism mostly in Newari language, very few of them have scholarly value. The Buddhist scholars from Western Europe, Oceania, America and East and South Asia have done a lot of significant scholarly work on Newar Buddhism. As part of the work of the native scholars, new publication is desperately needed to fill the intellectual vacuum in.this field. Therefore, this volume is an attempt to contribute accordingly.
In the beginning I had planned to include fifteen articles of the native writers to give a mixed flavour of Newar Buddhism. So, I selected prospective writers and made requests to contribute articles. Originally, I intended to include themes such as rituals, Cakrasamvara tantra, Puja, Bodhisattva practice, Buddhist revival movement, Newar Samgha, source of Newar Buddhism, aesthetics of Newar art and soon. Only a few writers responded to my plan. So, I decided to publish six articles dealing with the historical context of Newar Buddhism. Finally, I felt it necessary to include one article to introduce Newar Buddhism. So, I requested Prof. Michael Allen for permission to reprint his article—'Buddhism without Monks: the Vajrayana Religion of the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley'. Prof. Allen responded immediately and permitted me to reproduce his article. This article was first published in the South Asia Journal Vol. 2, 1973. In fact, it has made the book very weighty. Other articles deal only with the history of Newar Buddhism.
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