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Saturday, December 29, 2012
Is My Child A Living Buddha? (活佛)
received a very strange request from a friend to ask for help in identifying if
his son is a “Living Buddha”or “Tulku”. Apparently he has gone through a few
gurus or rinpoches but of no avail. But my personal advice is to give up the
idea as there are already so many Tulkus around and now it is one a little too
many. Just a few years back, I happened to watch a documentary about thousands
of children sent to monastery by their parents waiting to be identified as
Tulkus in Bhutan. Perhaps some are still waiting as of today. My take is why ruining
the future of our younger generations just because of the title “Tulku”? And
who is going to feed this Tulku? (Provided that the parents are super rich then pardon me)
I myself am
not a proponent of Tulku system though I respect the right of these believers.
The reason is that even a Tulku needs to learn as we all do, why give special status
to just one single person? Why burden our economic system with another gold
statue and not put this person also to work for the better of our economy?
In the 2009
documentary film Tulku, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche argues against the
institutionalized Tulku system stating,
And now, I personally think that to hold that
culture, institutionalized Tulku. That culture is dying; it’s not going to work
anymore. And even if it… And if it doesn’t work, I think it’s almost for the
better because this tulku, it’s going to… If the Tibetans are not careful, this
Tulku system is going to ruin Buddhism. At the end of the day Buddhism is more
important [than] Tulku system, who cares about Tulku... [and] what happens to
information from Wiki:
“In Tibetan Buddhism, a tulku is someone who is
recognized as the rebirth of a previous practitioner. High-profile examples
include the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama and the Karmapa.
It has been estimated that as of 2012 there
were about 500 tulkus across Tibet, although before the Chinese invasion there
were probably a few thousand. Each tulku has a distinct lineage of rebirths. The
vast majority of tulkus (and lamas) are men, although some are women.
The tulku incarnation lineage should not be
confused with the lineage of Buddhist masters and their disciples, which is
concerned with the oral or written transmission of particular Buddhist
teachings and spiritual practice from generation to generation.”