Newari Scroll-Reading by Dr. Naresh Man Bajracharya

Using a replica of a painted scroll from the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, Dr. Naresh Man Bajracharya will tell the Buddhist story of the Merchant Simhalasarthavahu (Simhala-Sārthavāha Avadāna). The story of shipwrecked merchants led by Siṃhalasarthavahu rescued from ogresses (rākṣasīs) by a bodhisattva in the form of a horse (identified with Avalokiteśvara in Mahāyāna versions) is retold in many Buddhist texts and images.

Special Event Details: 

Simhala-SārthavāhaAvadāna depicted on a railing pillar from Mathura in the Indian Museum, Kolkata, India (photo: Jason Neelis)
Simhala-SārthavāhaAvadāna depicted on a railing pillar from Mathura in the Indian Museum, Kolkata, India (photo: Jason Neelis)

Dr. Naresh Man Bajracharya will retell a Newar version of the story using images on a long hanging scroll to illustrate the living ritual dimensions of his storytelling tradition in this example of a Buddhist previous-birth narrative (Avadāna/Jātaka).

His presentation will be introduced by Dr. Christoph Emmrich with a talk on Newar manuscripts of the widespread Viśvantara Jātaka and discussed further by Dr. Todd Lewis, who will also speak about painted scrolls (Paubha) depicting Buddhist previous-birth narratives by focusing on an example depicting a local mythological history in the SvayambhuPurāṇa.

Sunday, August 27 10:00 AM – Noon

Doors at 9:30 AM, seating on a first-come basis

Event location: Royal Ontario Museum
Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre Level 1B
Use President’s Choice School Entrance

Free, public event does not include museum admission
No RSVP required

 

Biographical Statements

Dr. Naresh Man Bajracharya, Vice-Chancellor of Lumbini Buddhist University and Professor of Buddhist Studies at Tribhuvan University, was trained by Most Venerable Badri Ratna Bajracharya in the traditional rituals and performing arts of Newar Buddhist storytelling. He was a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence in the Art History Department at Virginia Commonwealth University and previously visited Toronto as a speaker in the Numata Buddhist Studies series.

Dr. Christoph Emmrich, Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto, is a versatile scholar of Nepalese and Burmese Buddhism, Sanskrit, Pali, Newar, Burmese, and Mon literature and Tamil Jainism. He works with ritual specialists among the Newars in the Kathmandu Valley to study their involvement in Buddhist practices related to marriage, education, monastic ordination, and the consecration of images.

Dr. Todd Lewis, Professor of Religious Studies at Holy Cross College, is an expert on Newar Buddhism and has written extensively about Buddhist narrative texts, rituals, and art, often in collaboration with Nepali scholars. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on Himalayan religions and the social history of Buddhism.

Long banner painting illustrating the Simhala-SārthavāhaAvadānain situ  at Thah Bahi in Thamle in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal. In the mornings during Gumla, the August Newar Buddhist holy month, this courtyard is crowded with people looking at the painting, and merchant groups playing musical instruments in devotional processions (courtesy of Todd Lewis).
Long banner painting illustrating the Simhala-SārthavāhaAvadānain situ  at Thah Bahi in Thamle in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal. In the mornings during Gumla, the August Newar Buddhist holy month, this courtyard is crowded with people looking at the painting, and merchant groups playing musical instruments in devotional processions (courtesy of Todd Lewis).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event supporters

This event is supported by the Royal Ontario Museum, the Ho Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto, Wilfrid Laurier University Office of Research Services, a Collaborative Research Grant from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation for Buddhist Studies, and a SSHRC Connection Grant.