I have attempted this text with a goal that appears somewhat quaint and perhaps ill conceived: I wished to honor those Indian Buddhist masters who have constructed esoteric Buddhism in their own time. The quaintness stems from my dissent from the modern proclivity of writers to find fault when our forebears do not measure up to a conceptual architecture erected after their time.
While most yogcivacara material studied to date is fiom Cambodia, evidence of the tradition is widely dispersed, in Laos and northern Thailand, as well as central Thailand and Burma. It is even found in Sri Lanka to a limited extent. However, it is difficult to ascertain the true historical extent of the tradition, since its history has been obscured by the vagaries of the past few centuries.
Visitors to Nepal, particularly Westerners, may find the large pantheon of gods and goddesses worshipped in this tiny Himalayan country by Hindus, Buddhists and animists bewildering. Therefore, we have attempted this small book as a guide to the predominant religious iconography in the Himalayan kingdom. It is by no means exhaustive, nor is it an attempt to explicate the whys and wherefores of religious belief.