Buddhism without Monks: The Vajrayana Religion of the Newars ofKathmandu

Michael Allen

Abstract


In   this paper I give a brief descriptive outline of the main features of a form   of Buddhism still practised amongst the Newars of Nepal in which there has   been no organized monasticism for at least the last seven hundred years. I do   not present the material in order to challenge Conze's statement, for he   could defend its validity by maintaining that the Newars are no longer true   Buddhists, but rather to examine the main bases of support for such an   unusual form of the religion. I hope to establish that whereas orthodox   monastic Buddhism is primarily dependent on the support of a powerful   minority, the unorthodox non-monastic Buddhism of the Newars is dependent on   mass popular support. 

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