Tulkus who have rejected their role

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Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Glyn » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:45 pm

Please share stories of Tulkus who have rejected their roles and are doing other things with their lives? The only ones I can think of are somewhat controversial, with the exception of Osel Torres, who is now teaching a bit.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:03 pm

Gesar Mukpo, the son of Trungpa Rinpoche is one. He made a film about being a Tulku.

Also I remember reading a Tricycle (I think) article about one of HHDL's brothers who is a Tulku but has refused to be enthroned because of all the politics of such a position.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby disjointed » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:33 pm

It makes you wonder if they were legitimate tulkus who took rebirth to benefit sentient beings.

Also, if a tulku rejects their role, is that the end of their tulku line? It seems like it would be.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Jikan » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:43 pm

I wonder what that role might be. There's the institutional role, of course, but is it possible that by rejecting that role, one may be better able to perform the tasks of a bodhisattva? (that seems like a particularly important role to me...)
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Adi » Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:51 am

Jikan wrote:I wonder what that role might be. There's the institutional role, of course, but is it possible that by rejecting that role, one may be better able to perform the tasks of a bodhisattva? (that seems like a particularly important role to me...)


Particularly important to me, too. I tend to give recognized tulkus the benefit of a wide kind of freedom. I can't say what they might be up to, really might be up to, or some kind of activity that is beyond my kenning. Having met a few it seems to me there is something in many I can't compass yet gives me a comfort.

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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:24 am

Another pov
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Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Alfredo » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:51 am

We need to distinguish between tulkus who have refused to do what their monasteries expect of them, vs. tulkus who have renounced Buddhism altogether (as often happens in the PRC). Osel Hita is not really a good example of either. Although he did attempt to make it on his own for awhile, he's now back sucking at the teat of the FPMT (which, with its built-in audience and network, ironically offers him his best chance of success as a filmmaker). Of course the exploitation is mutual--they use him as a fundraising draw.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby smcj » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:11 am

Konchog1 wrote:Gesar Mukpo, the son of Trungpa Rinpoche is one. He made a film about being a Tulku.

The film is titled "Tulku". It is available through Amazon. He interviews a number of other western tulkus, all of whom seem somewhat weirded out by their status as a tulku.

Also I remember reading a Tricycle (I think) article about one of HHDL's brothers who is a Tulku but has refused to be enthroned because of all the politics of such a position.

HHDL's brother was active in the resistance against the Chinese. That is not an activity befitting a tulku, so he is not actively embracing the title.

It seems to me most western tulkus have not fulfilled the expectations of their respective institutions.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby disjointed » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:33 am

Tulku's get a lot of attention for raising money for a monastery, they aren't necessarily who serious practitioners go to for teachings.

Tulkus' not meeting standards seems to be a hot issue lately.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:55 am

Actually if a teacher has "tulku" attached to their name it makes me more skeptical rather than more confident in their abilities. This is because in the last 19 years I have seen many charlatans who are recognized tulkus behave badly.
At the same time, there are several tulkus I have met who are impressive, and embody the teachings and lineages they represent- HH Dalai Lama, HH Karmapa, Kyentse Yangsi Rinpoche and a couple of others come to mind.

In terms of tulkus who reject their traditional role- Gomo Tulku is one such example. He formerly studied scriptures with Geshe Sonam Ngodup, who I have been translating for the past 2-3 years, so I have met him on several occasions. Though the music he produces is not really my style, he is a kind and well mannered young man who shows true concern for others. He made the choice not to pursue a scholastic-monastic career at Sera, and his teachers support his freedom to make that choice- which was heartening to see. At the moment he lives in Toronto, Canada where he is producing his music and looking at education options.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby smcj » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:57 am

There's a movie I haven't seen yet. It is about ChNN's son who is a recognized tulku, but isn't into it. I believe it is called "My Reincarnation". It has been suggested to me, but I haven't seen it, so I don't stand behind the recommendation.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby ClearblueSky » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:35 am

My Reincarnation is a fantastic movie, can't recommend it more. I have mixed feelings about this, and I get a lot of disagreement from fellow Tibetan Buddhist practitioners, but I sort of think the Tulku role has played it's course and will not be beneficial in this modern age. It's has so much politics in it (not that that's new), which makes me question if every tulku is really a tulku. That combined with the title tulku pretty much equaling a cause for immediate faith... I just think it does more harm than good. I've seen The Dalai Lama and Karmapa, and I adore them both and feel that they're the real deal. But even there, I really question how necessary such institutions are. Without the label, they can still come back for the benefit of all beings, and not everyone will check for a tulku label before deciding how authentic a given teacher is. Remember, Buddhism thrived for a long time without the system, and there's been plenty of murders and rivalries because of it. Just my two cents. But a good video relating to that and the original topic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Ka3bEN1rs
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:25 pm

I'm not sure if I even know what the "role" of a Western tulku would be. Acting as if they were Tibetan is certainly not it, is it? I know one or two people who have been recognized as tulkus, though they are not famous or even well-known, and they're in exactly the same calamity as most of us. They would like to dedicate their life to Dharma practice but there is no structure in the West that would support them, so they just struggle to make a living and practice as good as they can.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Knotty Veneer » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:31 pm

A great master can still do great work without the fancy title (although it has its uses).

I'd be more concerned about non-tulkus who decide to give themselves the title.
Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it - Mark Twain.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Simon E. » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:37 pm

ClearblueSky wrote:My Reincarnation is a fantastic movie, can't recommend it more. I have mixed feelings about this, and I get a lot of disagreement from fellow Tibetan Buddhist practitioners, but I sort of think the Tulku role has played it's course and will not be beneficial in this modern age. It's has so much politics in it (not that that's new), which makes me question if every tulku is really a tulku. That combined with the title tulku pretty much equaling a cause for immediate faith... I just think it does more harm than good. I've seen The Dalai Lama and Karmapa, and I adore them both and feel that they're the real deal. But even there, I really question how necessary such institutions are. Without the label, they can still come back for the benefit of all beings, and not everyone will check for a tulku label before deciding how authentic a given teacher is. Remember, Buddhism thrived for a long time without the system, and there's been plenty of murders and rivalries because of it. Just my two cents. But a good video relating to that and the original topic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Ka3bEN1rs

That pretty much sums up my own current thinking on the issue.
I think the Tulku model may have served its use.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby greentara » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:06 am

I also think the Tulku model may have run its course. This whole concept of spiritual lineage is full of holes; the ugly rivalries only highlight this. Only a rare one is enlightened and has very little to do with who your predecessor was.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby hop.pala » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:17 am

greentara wrote:I also think the Tulku model may have run its course. This whole concept of spiritual lineage is full of holes; the ugly rivalries only highlight this. Only a rare one is enlightened and has very little to do with who your predecessor was.


You maybe missundestand something.One Tulku is not certainly enlightened.Only one thing is sure,he was in past light enlightened.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Simon E. » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:15 am

hop.pala wrote:
greentara wrote:I also think the Tulku model may have run its course. This whole concept of spiritual lineage is full of holes; the ugly rivalries only highlight this. Only a rare one is enlightened and has very little to do with who your predecessor was.


You maybe missundestand something.One Tulku is not certainly enlightened.Only one thing is sure,he was in past light enlightened.

So in your view being a tulku is a step backwards...Even more reason to move on.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby hop.pala » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:37 am

Simon E. wrote:
hop.pala wrote:
greentara wrote:
You maybe missundestand something.One Tulku is not certainly enlightened.Only one thing is sure,he was in past light enlightened.

So in your view being a tulku is a step backwards...Even more reason to move on.

One" normal"teacher can not give such teaching as an tulku.Can teach the whole energetic system of the living being.Two,when once "above" the nirvana attained,then this is permanent,but below maybe necessary the break through with the kundalini the whole energetic system.
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Re: Tulkus who have rejected their role

Postby Simon E. » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:50 am

I have no idea what you are on about.
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