The Path of Yogic Singing and Sacred Dancing

Cultivating Wisdom with Manjusri

Four Video Lessons with Prajwal Vajracharya and Joshua Proto

Recordings will be available for viewing for one year from the date of purchase.

In the Newar Vajrayana Buddhist Tradition of Nepal it is taught that there can be no liberation without singing and dancing — the physical body and the voice are the tools of transformation with which we awaken and free our minds. 

Charya Nritya, a Sanskrit term meaning "dance as a spiritual discipline” is an ancient Vajrayana Buddhist dance tradition that until recently was unknown outside the circles of initiates who perform it. This sacred dance and song form is one of the religious arts of the Tantric Buddhist priests of the Kathmandu Valley, who perform it as part of their esoteric meditation and rituals since before the time of the Buddha. Each dance, through bodily gesture and energy-directed movement, invokes a different deity, such as Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, Vajrayogini, or Vajrapani. 

The Tantric practitioner dances in a state of deep meditative awareness in order to embody the living presence of the compassionate, peaceful, and fierce divinities, who are described in the esoteric Sanskrit charya-giti songs, sung as accompaniment to the dance and singing. Generating the mandalas of body, voice, and mind to realize oneness with the deity is the practitioner’s goal. Charya-giti are sung individually or by a group, with a variety of raga (melodies) and tala (metres); and accompanied by small cymbals known as ta and sometimes by a two-headed hourglass drum, or damaru. The songs begin with a flowing raga, followed by a more metrical section, including description and praise of the deity.


In this four week course we will learn the yogic song (Charya Giti) and the accompanying sacred ritual dance (Charya Nritya) of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom in order to cultivate wisdom and heal our own body, energy, mind, and emotions.

In the first part of each weekly class students will be instructed in the oral tradition of Nepalese Ragas (musical modes), tala (rhythmic cycles), and will be taught the traditional melodic song of Manjushri. Over four classes, students will become familiar with cultivating their voices, matching the pitches of the Raga, and keeping time. In the second part of the class students will learn the complete ritual dance of Manjushri, and finally they will merge the song and dance together.

The practical teachings on song and dance will be complemented by Prajwal’s teachings on the  mythological origins of the Kathmandu Valley, highlighting the origins of Vajrayana Buddhism and Tantric Buddhist practice in the Kathmandu Valley. 

This is a healing and a purification practice for body, speech and mind. Absolutely no prior singing or dancing experience is required. Just as all beings have the potential to attain liberation, everyone can also sing and dance, regardless of the quality of their voice or body condition. All are welcome!


  • Four 2-Hour recordings of live webinars with Prajwal Vajracharya & Joshua Proto
  • Audio Files of Charya Dance Songs
  • Articles on the history and tradition of Charya Dance
  • Additional Resources 

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the course!

    • Welcome

    • Online Classroom Etiquette & Technical Requirements

    • Navigating this Learning Platform (Video)

    • Navigating this Learning Platform (PDF)

  • 2


    • Articles about the Charya Nritya Dance Tradition of Nepal

    • Charya Dance Songs Used in this Course (Audio MP3)

    • Additional Sadhanas/ Prayers Used in this Course

    • Manjushri Song (PDF)

    • Manjushri Song (Audio)

  • 3



    • Class One

    • Class Two

    • Class Three

    • Class Four

Your Instructors

Prajwal Ratna Vajracharya

Prajwal is a 35th generation Tantric Buddhist priest from Nepal and a ritual master both of the Charya Nritya dance tradition and other ritual forms performed by the Newar Vajracharya lineage. Prajwal began his training in Charya Nritya, the dance aspect of Newar Buddhism, from the age of eight, receiving formal instruction from his father, the Buddhist scholar and ritual master Ratna Kaji Vajracharya. Prajwal Vajracharya is now the premier teacher, practitioner, and performer of the tradition and is a veteran of several world tours with beginning and advanced students around the globe. He founded Dance Mandal: Foundation for Sacred Buddhist Arts of Nepal to preserve and expand this rare art form and its related traditions. With the survival of this sacred ritual dance threatened by modernization, Prajwal, at his father’s wishes, has dedicated his life to bringing this unique Buddhist heritage from the temples of Nepal to the world, while adhering to its original purpose as a profound spiritual practice.

Joshua Proto

Joshua Proto, student of Prajwal Vajracharya, is a Buddhist practitioner in the Newar Vajrayana lineage of Charya dance and song. Trained in the Hindustani music style of Khyal from the Kirana Gharana, Joshua has found much joy in using his understanding of Indian Classical music to enrich his practice and excel in his study of Charya singing. He is excited to share his insights from both practices to help students discover the sound of their voice and the embodied wisdom it contains. As the primary singer at Nritya Mandala Mahavihara in Portland, Oregon, Joshua is responsible for accompanying Prajwal and the temple dancers in over 35 Charya songs. In adherence to his teacher, Prajwal Vajracharya’s wishes, Joshua strives to ensure that the complete practice of Charya as both artistic form and profound spiritual practice can survive and thrive in a modern world.