About Buddhacharya Family
There are 7 world heritage sites within the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. Each site has their own circle of community, who take the responsibility of preserving the traditions, norms and values of their respective heritage site.
Likewise, Swoyambhu Stupa has a community as well. They are
“THE BUDDHACHARYA FAMILY”.
The Buddhacharya Family are the descendants of four brothers who came with Santikaracharya, the king who turned into Bhikchu(monk). He is the person who raised the first stupa of Swoyambhu.
The community is divided into four lineages( “KA: WA:” ), representing the descendants of the four legendary brothers, who have initiated the clan hundreds of years ago.
The tradition, norms, rituals and culture established by these ancestors have been passed on to generations. Even now in the present, the community has diligently been able to preserve those duties, knowledge and discipline.
Every member of the circle grouped together, form a total of 30 families, who are the same predecessors of the four legendary brothers. So, each family is categorized as a descendant of their respective ancestor, among the four brothers. And each of the 4 groups, have their own head/leader.
As mentioned before, the community is a circle, yes! But it is also a circle of priests who have the skills to perform rituals and practices.
Every Tuesday evening, for a total of 7 days, a priest family is entrusted with a duty of caretaking and preserving the overall site. During the time period, the entrusted family are responsible for supporting the devotees of the gods and goddesses around the stupa, on performing pujas and special rituals. After end of 7th day, on another Tuesday evening, the duty is passed on to another family group, who will undertake the same practices. This process of dividing the duties keeps repeating over and over, which also ensures that the discipline and culture passed by the ancestors remains preserved.
Just like every family has a head, every team has a leader, the Buddhacharya Family have a “THAKULI”.
“THAKULI” is the head of the community. He is that person, whose major responsibility is to ensure that every individual of the community preserves the tradition, norms, values, discipline, practices, etc. passed till date.
The position of “THAKULI” is passed to the individual who is the senior (in age) among the circle of Buddhacharya Family. The heads of the four families accompany the “THAKULI” on special occasions. One of the special occasions is the Shantipur Puja, which happens twice every month on Dashami. During this ceremony, the head of the four descendent family have to support and help the “THAKULI” on the initialization and end of the ritual that take place outside the temple. This is because, only the “THAKULI” of our community and one-“Bajracharya priest” of Kathmandu are allowed to go inside the temple to perform the puja.
The Buddhacharya Family have a very close relationship with the Swoyambhu Chaitya. They believe the Swoyambhu chaitya as living members of the clan.
During the renovation of the Chaitya, if the yashe or wooden middle pole of the Chaitya, need to be changed, then the old replaced wooden pole is burned, following the procession of death rituals done as the members of our family. Likewise, when the new wooden middle pole is brought to place on the Chaitya, it is welcomed as a newly married member of our family.