A casual visitor will be surprised to see the large number of both peaceful and wrathful looking deities in Kathmandu valley. He will even be doubtful if these are Buddhist at all. Because in teravada Buddhist tradition they are famliar with the image of Shakyamuni Buddha, Dharmacakra symbol, stupa, or some devas connected with Buddha legends. However, this is not the case in Kathmandu valley or in Nepal. The form of Buddhism is Vajrayana which traditional Buddhists believed to have been delivered by Shakyamuni Buddha himself. The Vajrayana form of Buddhism was fully developed in India at Nalanda and Vikramashila monasteries and it was fully dissiminated in Nepal and Tibet.
People in these countries have preserved its spiritual traditions through centuries and have produced a unique Buddhist culture and civilization through arts and paintings. These artistic paintings and sculptures are still scattered here and there in large number especially in Kathmandu valley. Apart from its artistic
and historic value it has deep spiritual significance. In recent years, due to lack of proper understanding and importance of these images or sculptures many of them were stolen, vandalised or simply left neglected, to decay.
In order that people may get some understanding about the importance of these deities and appreciate its spiritual signifi-cance a humble attempt has been made to describe the merits and virtues of different deities in Nepalese context although brief in nature. If by going through these pages if some one feels inspiredand appreciated about the importance of these deities then, I believe the author is amply rewarded
.I am deeply indebted to Mr. Yagya Ratna Dhakhwa, President of HAN who gave me this opportunity for preparing this monograph. I owe an especial debts of thanks to my student Mr. Raj Tuladhar who prepared almost all of the line drawings of the deities used in this book. I would like to express my thanks to Mr. Pusparaj Shakya, Okubahal for providing photographs of his personal collection and to Mr. Rajesh Shakya, Mr Pradeepa Shakya and Mr. Ashoka Vajracharya who spared no pains in taking the necessary photographs .
To my cousin brother Mr. Chandra Bahadur Shakya, I am deeply grateful for his painstaking editing of my manuscript and for providing computer facilities. To my friends Mr. Milan Shakya and Mr. Madan Lal Shrestha I owe a debt of thanks for their artistic skills in layout and design of the cover and other illustrations.
Finally, to my sister Miss Samjhana Shakya I have my affection for she typed my entire manuscript into a computer.
Lastly, but not the least, to my friend Mr. Harihar Raj Joshi who gave a final touch to my manuscript, I appreciate his co-operation.
MIN BAHADUR SHAKYA