Published Articles

An Emic Critique Of Austine Waddell

In this critique, I would like to make general Nepalese scholars aware that Austine Waddell’s “Buddhism & Lamaism of Tibet” cannot and should not be taken as an authoritative book on “Tibetan Buddhism”, the common appellation for what I call the Vajrayana of Tibet. Waddell’s book contains literally thousands of mistakes, wrong information, misinterpretations, and perhaps even purposeful distortions. We cannot consider the entire book in this critique but I shall take the preface and the first 75 pages, which will give a sufficient idea of the whole. Read More

Enlightenment: Buddhism Vis-à-Vis Hinduism

It must be understood that Hinduism and Buddhism have shared the same culture for the last 2500 years, which means they’ve also shared common language/s (Sanskrit or Pali). Because of this historical situation, there are many words that are used commonly in both traditions. This has led many scholars, especially Hindu scholars, to think that words and symbols mean exactly the same thing in both the traditions. By extending this thinking, they arrive at the wrong conclusion, mainly that Buddhism is another form, or revision, or reformation of Hinduism. Read More

Interview with Khenchen Rigdzin Dorje on the Nyingmapa View

Khenpo Rigdzin is one of the closest disciples of one of the greatest Dzogchen yogis of this century, Chatral Rimpoche, who is also one of my Gurus. In 1994, Punya Parajuli and I went to the Nyingma College (Shedra) in Hati Gauda, Kathmandu, to interview him to refine and sharpen our own views from the Nyingma pespective. He was then the Dean of the College. Read More

Madhyamika Buddhism vis-à-vis Hindu Vedanta (A Paradigm Shift)

Famous Indian Hindu scholars like the ex-President of India the late Radhakrishnan state ‘The Buddha did not feel that he was announcing a new religion. He was born, grew up, and died a Hindu. He was restating with a new emphasis the ancient ideals of the Indo-Aryan civilization.’ (2500 Years of Buddhism, 1971, Government of India, foreword, p.ix). Swami Vivekananda said that the Buddha was a great Vedantist for Buddhism was really only an offshoot of Vedanta(The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, volume 7, p. 59 and Inspired Talks, volume 3, p. 527). Likewise, Nepalese scholars like Mr. Chudanath Bhattarai, Swami Prapannacharya and scores other Nepalese and Indian scholars, too numerous to be mentioned here, have written that Buddhism is a reaction, a reformation of Hinduism. The Buddha tried to reform some of the malpractice within Hinduism and he never wanted to create a new religion. In short, according to these scholars, Buddhism is correct Hinduism without any malpractice and evils and what is called Hinduism is the malpractice and distorted form of the Vedas. Read More


The word mandala (dkyil ‘khor) in Tibetan actually means centre and periphery, i.e. a circle: the circle of a king, a magician’s circle, an organization with a centre (chairman) and periphery, and so on. Read More

Nāgārjuna vis-à-vis the Āgamas and Nikāyas

Some Theravada scholars accuse Nāgārjuna of interpreting the Buddha’s teachings and thus distorting the teachings. Some other scholars think Nāgārjuna re-interpreted the Buddha’s teaching [Bhikkhu Rahula Walpola, 1978, pp.79] but did not really create a new philosophy. To the first group of scholars, the psychological fact must be pointed out that to read or study the Buddha Vacana is already to interpret it. Man does not study a thought of anybody without giving it a meaning. Even if such thoughts had no meaning, it is in the nature of mind to give it meaning. The mind does not take in what is out there like a simple mirror, it always recreates on the basis of the patterns available to it [Jerome Bruner, 1986, pp.47, 79-92, 95 & Humberto R. Matarana PhD & Francisco Varela PhD., 1987, pp.169]. So the question is who hasn’t interpreted or reinterpreted the Buddha’s teachings? Isn’t the Theravada Milindapanna an interpretation of the Buddha Vacana? Aren’t the commentaries of the Pāli Abhidhamma interpretations of the Buddha Vacana? If Nāgārjuna has interpreted the Buddha Vacana, he has done us a service for otherwise each individual would automatically interpret the Buddha Vacana in accordance with his own individual conditionings (Sanskaras). Read More

Some Facts about Vajrayana Buddhism

It is a well known fact that the form of Buddhism that has flourished in Nepal since the ancient times has all been Vajrayana. The Newars of Kathmandu Valley follow the Vajrayana school of Buddhism as well as the entire Northern Sector of Nepal and its ethnic groups (like the Sherpas, Manangis, Tamangs, Lopas, Bhutias, Depchas etc.). Given this fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Vajrayana Buddhism has had the strongest effect in the culture of Nepal Valley i.e. Kathmandu specifically. Read More

The Use of Symbols and Rituals in Vajrayana / Mahayana Buddhism

In the Digghanikaya Udumbarika Sihanada Sutta of the Pali Tripitaka, the Sasta (master) has told Nigrodha that it was not necessary to relinquish everything in his culture to become a Buddhist. He could continue to follow those cultural elements if they did not contradict the Samyag Drishti (correct view) view. For instance, it is not possible to continue animal sacrifice and still remain a Buddhist; however it is possible to perform the rites and rituals and symbols of the culture one grows up in if they do not contradict the basics of Buddhism. Read More

Vajrayana Buddhism Vis-à-vis Hindu Tantricism

As both Hindu Tantra and Buddhist Tantra (also known as Vajrayana) are profound subjects and I am neither a Siddha nor a Pandit, I have great trepidation in writing about these topics. However, many writers have stated that both Tantras are basically the same, when in fact they are very different. Hindu Tantra is based on the Hindu Advaita which means view of one form or the other of Monism. Vajrayana is based on Advaya or non-dual. This Buddhist tenet comes from the expositions of Nagarjuna and his followers (known as Madhyamika), and the Asanga/Vasubahndu (Chittamatra) group. Hence, to extricate Vajrayana from the wrong views surrounding its meaning, I feel compelled to write. Read More

Vajrayana Vipassyana

Most people in Nepal are completely unaware of Vajrayana Vipassyana. This is a sad situation considering the fact that Nepal as a whole and Kathmandu in specific has been the land of Vajrayana since before the time Vasubandhu came to the Kathmandu valley around 400 AD. Even so called Vajracharyas have no idea that their own practice is also a form of Vipassyana, and most Pali Vipassana practitioners do not even think there are other forms of Vipassyana in the Mahayana - Vajrayana tradition. If one were to pursue even a little bit of ancient Sanskrit Shastras one will know that the Sanskrit word Vipassyana is as ancient as the Pali word Vipassana. Read More

Vedànta vis-à-vis Shentong

Vedànta is based on the Upanishads, some of which are as old as the Buddha and others are four to eight hundred years older than the Buddha himself. Shankaràcàrya (also known as Sankara), who was from the 8th century, is the most famous commentator of the Upanishads, and today, the majority of the Hindus follow his commentaries. In the Bodhàyana commentary, according to him, the hermeneutic of the Upanishads existed even before his time. Read More