Zraadha in Nepal

A. v. Rospatt rospatt at WLINK.COM.NP
Fri May 15 14:25:36 UTC 1998

Dear Richard Cohen,
                a brief and tentative answer to some of Your questions:

> 1) Though Buddhist, do the Sakyas perform zraadha ceremonies in honor of the
> dead akin to those performed by the valley's Hindu population?

I know that vajracaryas perform zraadha ceremonies and in all likelihood
this will also hold good for Shakyas. I am ignorant about the precise
details but I know that the ritual is thoroughly buddhicized, involving
the building of a durgatiparizodhana-caitya and the veneration of the
three jewels.

> 2) Does Sakyamuni receive mention in the course of the Sakyas' funerary
> rites, in his capacity as a member of the clan rather than as a buddha? In
> other words, is he treated as an ancestor, or even clan-deity?
> 3) Does Dipankara have any place in the Sakyas' funerary rites? In other
> words, is he treated as an ancestor, or even clan-deity?

As all Newars, Shakyas have a clan deity. All my informants agreed that
Shakyamuni and Dipankara never feature as such. The contrary would also
have been somthig of a surpirse to me.

> 4) How is inhertance distributed upon the death of a father? How do the
> Sakyas' inheritance practices compare with those of other groups in the valley?

According to my informants, as is customary in much of South Asian
Societies: The  male members of the joint family jointly own their
property. This does not change when the father dies, though at this
junction brothers ofen start struggles and end up dividing the family
property in equal parts among themselves.

Regards, Alexander Rospatt

Dr. Alexander v. Rospatt                      Tel.: 00-977-1-271018
Nepal Research Center                         Fax:  00-977-1-474463
PO Box 180
Kathmandu, Nepal

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