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The "Ten Rites" (daśakriyā) in Kuladatta’s Kriyāsaṁgrahapañjikā

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Author

Kokhan, Igor

Date

2020

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies

Committee

Shakya, Miroj
Iwamura, Jane N.
Payne, Richard K.
Jones, John R.

Abstract

This dissertation offers an analysis of a set of Newar Buddhist practices known as the "ten rites" (daśakriyā). It focuses on a subsection of Chapter 6 in Kuladatta’s Kriyāsaṁgrahapañjikā, an eleventh-century ritual text, that describes the "ten rites” as part of the consecration of canvases, books, and images. Widely assumed to have been adopted from the Hindu tradition, the "ten rites” (daśakriyā) constitute a significant component of Newar Buddhist ritual practice. However, their connection with the sixteen Hindu lifecycle rituals has not been sufficiently analyzed, especially in the context of image consecration ceremonies. Drawing on a variety of literary sources, this dissertation utilizes the comparative approach and the framework of ritual studies to provide an analysis of the “ten rites” (daśakriyā) in Kuladatta’s Kriyāsaṁgrahapañjikā. Each chapter of the dissertation addresses a group of the “ten rites,” thus contributing to an overall understanding of these rituals as complex and multifaceted manifestations of the Newar Buddhist tradition, and not simply as syncretic appropriations of Hindu lifecycle rituals.

By focusing on the “ten rites” (daśakriyā) in the Kriyāsaṁgrahapañjikā and on their relation to the Hindu lifecycle rituals (saṁskāras), this dissertation contributes to our understanding of the Newar Buddhist ritual tradition. It presents evidence that the assumption about the “ten rites” (daśakriyā) as somehow “adopted” from Hinduism does not find support in textual sources. Rather, as a three-way comparison with a Śaiva and a Vaiṣṇava ritual manuals demonstrates, the Newar Buddhist tradition infuses its image consecration rituals with distinctly Buddhist ideas and symbols that constitute the very framework of the “ten rites.”

This dissertation contains my translation of the subsection of Kuladatta’s Kriyāsaṁgraha discussing the “ten rites” from an Asha Archives manuscript. Illustrations of the ritual paraphernalia utilized in contemporary performances of the daśakriyā, as well as pictures depicting various ritual events are provided throughout this dissertation to help the reader envision the material reality of the “ten rites.” Additionally, a detailed description of a contemporary Newar Buddhist image consecration ceremony is included as an appendix.

Degree Granter

University of the West