Banning of Tulkus in History

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Steveyboy
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Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Steveyboy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:23 pm

Just read this most extremely interesting post on the taboo subject of the banning of Tulkus in History. What do you guys thinks?

Banning of Tulkus in History

The CTA (Central Tibetan Administration) and its predecessor, the Tibetan government had long been well known for their hard-line policies against Tulkus and their spiritual institutions. If one were to take a long hard look at the history books, one would find a number of high-profile cases where great Lamas were marginalized, their great residences seized, students dispersed and their line of incarnations completely wiped out from historical records.

The Shamar Rinpoches are one of the highest-ranking Tulkus in the Karma Kagyu School. During the lifetime of the 10th Shamarpa, he was the brother of the 3rd Panchen Lama Palden Yeshe, the second highest Lama in Tibet. Unfortunately, the 10th Shamarpa developed a very poor relationship with the Tibetan government at Lhasa due to a series of ensuing events. After the Panchen Lama entered clear light, a conflict broke out over the handling of the inheritance. Shamarpa received none of the inheritance due to the fact that he was a Kagyu Lama and being a Lama, he has his own estate and inheritance.

However, tensions grew from that day on, which led to the Shamarpa travelling to Nepal on a teaching trip. Shortly thereafter, a letter from the Gurkha king was sent to the Eighth Dalai Lama, claiming that the Shamarpa was held hostage and sought ransom. The government deliberated and felt it was a hoax and refused to pay the ransom. Subsequently, the Gurkha army invaded Tibet and nearly captured Lhasa the capital. In the midst of chaos, the Eighth Dalai Lama stood his ground to remain in Lhasa thus inspiring his people to rally an army to defend Lhasa. After a fierce battle, the Gurkha army was pushed back and peace talks ensued.

As a result of the talks, the blame was placed squarely on the Shamarpa’s shoulders and he was tried for treason. The Tibetan government seized the Shamarpa’s estate and his line of incarnation was banned. They seized his red ceremonial hat and sent it to Lhasa where rumors circulated that it was buried under the front steps of the Jokhang Cathedral so pilgrims would have to step over his hat to make their devotional rounds – the desecration of the main symbol of Shamarpa’s spiritual authority. His incarnation would not be reinstated until the 20th Century.

The Shamarpa is not the only Lama who had received such treatment. During the time of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, the fame of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen exceeded that of the Dalai Lama. Both Lamas were great disciples of the great Panchen Lama Lobsang Chokyi Gyeltsen. It would seem that the Dalai Lama wouldn’t be able to ascend to his position of authority unless Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was eliminated. Therefore, tensions arose between the disciples of the Dalai Lama and that of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.

The worst happened, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was mysteriously murdered and rumors persisted that the murder was attributed to the followers of the Dalai Lama. However, the Dalai Lama knew nothing of the plot and was greatly saddened by the sudden demise of this great Lama. Subsequently, the Tibetan government seized the deceased Lama’s estate and his incarnation name was downgraded in historical records and the search for his incarnation was mysteriously banned.

Finally, another Tulku that received a similar fate was Reting Rinpoche, the Regent of Tibet who came to power after the death of the Great Thirteenth Dalai Lama. Reting Rinpoche formed the search party responsible for the discovery of the boy who would be enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama. Reting Rinpoche discovered his candidate in Taktser and the divination of the Panchen Lama supported his claim. For the right candidate to be enthroned, Reting Rinpoche had to come down hard on Langdun, the chief minister at that time and other corrupt officials that had their own rival candidate to the golden throne of the Dalai Lama. This angered the powerful Lhasa aristocracy that supported the chief minister with his candidate.

However, Reting Rinpoche managed to push for the enthronement of the boy from Taktser as the 14th Dalai Lama. Then, Reting Rinpoche decided to enter into retreat while Taktra Rinpoche was enthroned as the next Regent. But his time in seclusion would be short-lived as the Nechung oracle suddenly announced that the Dalai Lama was in imminent danger during a New Year’s celebration. Reting Rinpoche broke his retreat and traveled to Lhasa only to find that the Lhasa aristocracy had grown in strength.

During that time, the father of the Dalai Lama had become highly influential in Lhasa. Therefore, he was the first target and was poisoned to death. Then, there was a foiled assassination attempt on Taktra Rinpoche and somehow, Reting Rinpoche was implicated and was promptly arrested. He died in prison from horrendous torture that was inflicted upon him. Thereafter, he was typecasted as a villain and his estate seized and his subsequent incarnations were outlawed. All future incarnations of Reting Rinpoche are banned from being recognized just like in the case of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen and the previous Shamarpa.

These are some examples of how the Tibetan government had treated some of these ill-fated Tulkus of the past. For political reasons, even High Lamas are not immune to inconsistent policies of the Tibetan government and they can be stripped of their estate, banned and stories of lies and maliciousness concocted in order to justify the bans they had placed upon these High Lamas. These stories may or may not have been investigated depending on the political agenda of a partisan and biased government. Therefore, the validity of such bans and policies that had been issued are questionable and often shrouded in intrigue.

Reference
Mullin, Glenn H. (2001). The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation. Clear Light Publishers. Santa Fe, NM
Last edited by Grigoris on Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Removed link to site linked with controversial practices cf clause 5 of terms of Service

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Yudron » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:35 pm

Shugden people are no fans of Reting Rinpoche, funny they should criticize the Lhasa government for doing exactly what they would have done. The bulk of this post came from a Shugden site.
Author of Buddhist young adult fiction. Vlogger at Wisdom and Compassion: Grandma Yudron's Totally Chill Vlog on Meditation and Tibetan Wisdom Blogger at Very active on Twitter.

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Grigoris » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:10 pm

Glenn Mullin is a legit author, his books were distributed through Snow Lion Publications and he is a friend and asociate of HHDL. While I do not agree with how the information is being used, the info itself is okay. I will be keeping a close watch on this thread to ensure the conversation (if any) remains civil and within the bounds of the Terms of Service.
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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:40 pm

Reting Rinpoche's reincarnation was found and secretly recognized apparently. He currently lives in Dharamshala trying to clear the Reting name.
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.
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Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby byamspa » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:33 pm

So basically, Tibet had politics? And it got ugly?

Fancy that happening with a group of human beings!

Now, did they have a fiscal cliff or a debt ceiling? Inquiring minds wanna know.

:rolleye:
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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Grigoris » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:47 pm

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Yudron » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:06 pm

Author of Buddhist young adult fiction. Vlogger at Wisdom and Compassion: Grandma Yudron's Totally Chill Vlog on Meditation and Tibetan Wisdom Blogger at Very active on Twitter.

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:07 pm

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: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:27 pm

I don't have a particularly positive view towards any political establishment.

But I do consider the great strides the Tibetan exiles have made in the last 10 years in terms of intersectarianism and secularization of the government apparatus. I see that this passage was indeed lifted from a Shugden site so I wonder if the passage is true to Glenn Mullin's text. Unfortunately I am in Italy at the moment so away from my books.

It truly makes me sad how the Shugden sites try to use every awkward moment of Tibetan history to promote a vision that seeks to destroy the process of sectarian reconciling and secularization. The agenda of the conservatives who founded this movement was a hegemonic Gelugpa controlled state which they saw as being hindered by the Dalai Lamas who were more open in their outlook.

My opinion is that if we focused less on tulkus and more on training scholars and yogis that progress based on their merits and practice in this life, we would be well served. Of course there are some exceptional tulkus who live up to the greatness of their predecessors, but there are also many who do not and even hinder the dharma.

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Yudron » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:37 pm

Author of Buddhist young adult fiction. Vlogger at Wisdom and Compassion: Grandma Yudron's Totally Chill Vlog on Meditation and Tibetan Wisdom Blogger at Very active on Twitter.

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:48 pm

Thanks Yudron you are too kind! I think many of us share this view, as I have heard similar opinions from many dharma friends.

At a Gelug conference His Holiness the Dalai Lama mentioned one fully trained, excellent and practice oriented Geshe Lharampa was more valuable than a handful of mediocre tulkus. We can understand from the above that the tulku system was also designed as a way of maintaining the estates of teachers (crucial since they couldn't have children as their heirs due to being monks). For this reason, many recognitions happened without the best of intentions.

Two of my teachers who I cherish dearly, HH Dalai Lama and HH Karmapa, are tulkus so of course I recognize the system has produced some great luminaries. But I also recognize it has produced some troublemakers as well! That is why it is so important to evaluate teachers not based on titles,looks, connections or family line but on their merits as practitioners with qualities.

Geshe la told me recently that the Gelug monasteries have introduced some restrictions on recognition of tulkus as there were simply too many new tulkus being produced. If i find out more I will share.

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Adamantine » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:58 am

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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby plwk » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:55 am

What do you guys thinks?


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Fa Dao
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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Fa Dao » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:02 am

Read that letter..one thing is clear..this dude does NOT like shugden!! Holy crap!! Anyone know if HHDL ever responded to this or not?
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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:12 am

For the benefit of those of us without as much knowledge of Tibetan politics, what is the significance of the term "Shugden"?
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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justsit
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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby justsit » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:30 am

from our TOS #5.

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Konchog1
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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:58 am

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

JKhedrup
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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:49 am

We have to be careful to make sure this does not become a discussion about Shugden as that is contrary to ToS. (I know it is tough sometimes as unfortunately much of recent Tibetan history is tainted with issues regarding this. ). The reason is anytime a discussion of Shugden opens it leads to a huge flame war. By keeping Dharma Wheel free of in-depth discussion of this topic we insure a more comfortable place to post (IMO).

It would help if posters didn't lift information from Shugden sites or post Shugden links. But as the passage has been attributed to Glenn Mullin Greg allowed a discussion of it.

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Grigoris » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:20 am

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Banning of Tulkus in History

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:03 am

Thanks - I did have some idea, but I thought that as it was highly relevant to this particular thread, it might be good to include a reference to a definitive source, which I'm sure the one cited was an example of.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi


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