Alfredo wrote:(Too often, in Buddhism the benefits are imaginary.)
Sorry man, but that's just plain old BS. The only thing that this statement betrays is your complete lack of knowledge of what Buddhism actually is. Benefit and loss are concepts that belong to the realm of worldly dharmas, not Buddhadharma. Buddhism (whether people like it or not) is the means by which Buddhadharma is practiced, promulgated, etc...
The majority of those playing the non-Buddhist charade right now only arrived at this point of their spiritual development (and have access to these teachings and practices) as a consequence of Buddhist structures and programs. It is typical of the largely ahistorical approach of Westerners (mainly Americans, since culturally they are almost completely divorced from the notion of historical development) that what exists right now is a direct consequence of what existed beforehand. Part of Western chauvinism is the belief that almost everything associated with non-Western culture is somehow primitive, unnecessary and disposable. Everything, that is, that does not pander to the boorish little western ego.
This idea of a religious fast food catering to the pathetic needs of the western ego is just going to end up producing the sort of religious junk food (new ageism par excellence) that has been slowly killing western spirituality for so long now. But the westerner is not satisfied with killing themselves (they destroyed their own indigenous spiritual traditions), they have to force it onto everybody else too.
In terms of the OP, this means that I am happy that the tulku system exists. It limits the number of crass and brash boors that would otherwise enter the Tibetan Vajrayana hierarchies and who would, in a short space of time, destroy all the beauty, complexity and sophistication of a system that took thousands of years to develop. Westerners should be excluded until westerners learn to respect and appreciate what they are being offered. Unfortunately, gauging from many of the responses in this thread, there is little hope of that happening!