Zraadha in Nepal

A. v. Rospatt rospatt at WLINK.COM.NP
Fri May 29 16:20:22 UTC 1998

Dear Richard Cohen,
                a belated further comment on Your questions regarding zraadha among
the Shakyas of Nepal. Your questions seem to imply that the Saakyas of
Nepal are related to the clan of Shakyamuni. This is probably a
misconception, though a popular one which can also be found among
Shakyas themselves. It is more likely that they are called Shakyas
because they are the descendents of a class of people who used to be
called Shakya-Bhiksus, i.e. Bhikshus in the order of Shakyamuni. Unlike
the Vajracaryas, these Shakya-Bhiksus did not take the further step of
becoming tantric masters (vajracaryas), but like them they did become

Hope this helps, Alexander Rospatt

> I require some information about the practices and beliefs of the Kathmandhu
> valley's Sakyas. Either direct answers or references for further research
> would be most appreciated.
> 1) Though Buddhist, do the Sakyas perform zraadha ceremonies in honor of the
> dead akin to those performed by the valley's Hindu population?
> 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?
> 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?
> Thanks in advance,
> Richard Cohen
> University of California, San Diego

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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