Lakṣacaitya Vrata

This Lakṣacaitya Vrata is centered on making caityas out of black clay using molds, called “dyaḥ thāyegu.” Vratas are priest-led and lay-sponsored worship programs focusing on a single deity, lasting one or more days. Participants fast before making a series of offerings on a mandala.

Making small clay caityas can be done for merit by individuals, or by groups wishing to make a large number such as 100,000, from which this vrata gets its name (lakha). There are also dyaḥ thāyegu molds that include bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteśvara, but most are caityas of varying sizes. To make an individual small caitya according to “high Buddhist standards”—a tradition known only to Urāy merchants, Śākyas, and Vajrācāryas—entails a twelve-step process marked at each turn by a mantra recitation.

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