Recognising reincarnations

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:39 am

conebeckham wrote:(Kongtrul's opinion, in his autobio, is worth a look......)


Kindle has 100 references in Gem of Many Colors to tulku (understandably most are either titles or in notes). Can you narrow down the passage(s) that you are thinking of?

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby conebeckham » Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:08 am

The passage where he speaks of being "recognized," and how he felt about it.....but also, you should read his account of past lives.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby muni » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:04 am

So you are not capable of maintaining pure view. Neither am I. That means that in most circumstances we are guided by personal expressions of attachment and aversion So just admit it and join the club!


I guess this is the advice of the Buddha.
Anyway, I, am all-knowing and the (my) world is impure. But I maintain pure view. LOL !
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:36 pm

kirtu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Jikan wrote:
I think Sherab Dorje raised an interesting issue some time back that I'd like to bring us back to: the question of whether or to what degree the tulku system as developed in Tibet offers an efficient way to identify and train teachers and leaders when resources are scarce. Thoughts on this?


Not necessarily. Two major schools of Tibetan Buddhism do not operate this way: the largest, Gelugpa and as well as Sakya.


You are on thin ice here as both Gelug and Sakya recognize and train tulkus. Neither are completely devoid of tulkus although the relationship with the recognition can be different. You in fact note this wrt Sakya sub-sects. Your example wrt the office of the Dalai Lama is strained at best. In fact Gelug tulkus can indeed be sought (other than the Dalai and Panchen lamas).

Kirt


Most so called "Sakya" tulkus are Nyingma reincarnations trained in Sakya through circumstances of region. The Zimog tulkus of Nalendra are a notable exception to this. As I said most of the Sakya tulkus come from East Tibet, which is very removed from Central Tibet. Even here, Sakya in Derge belongs to Ngor, not Tshar, and Sakya monasteries in east Tibet were under the adminstration of Ngor. Of all four schools, Sakya has the least number of tulkus.

AFA Gelug is concerned — there may be an effort to find Tulkus, but the administration of Gelug is in the hands of educated geshes, not reincarnations, for the most part.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:30 pm

conebeckham wrote:The passage where he speaks of being "recognized," and how he felt about it.....but also, you should read his account of past lives.


Cone - as everyone knows, Kongtrul's "recognition" was political. This fact does not mean that we should extrapolate that assessment to other recognitions or assume that the political motive is the primary one.

As for his account of former lives, I'll hunt it down. However Kongtrul was skeptical about these kinds of things to begin with. Sort of reminds me of Namkhai Norbu ....

I'll also note that both Khyentse Wangpo and Chokyur Lingpa had to basically kick him in the pants to get him acting as a terton (and that account strains my credulity in fact). However Kongtrul was far from being a kind of politically biased skeptic: the pony/horse race where he came in last, began crying, was chided for this by attendants and had to explain that in reality the race had been no ordinary race but a foreshadowing of the respective parinirvana's of the participants is an example.

Kongtrul also wrote an explanation of the tulku phenomena without a trace of skepticism for the enthronement of the 10th Tai Situpa (it appears in Enthronement). Of course of could counter that this ceremony was the very height of political activity in the Karma Kagyu at the time. However, to my knowledge, Kongtrul did not find it necessary to criticize the institution as did the 10th Panchen Lama.

So sometimes a race is political, sometimes it's just a race and sometimes it's not a race at all and Kongtrul recognized this.

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Not necessarily. Two major schools of Tibetan Buddhism do not operate this way: the largest, Gelugpa and as well as Sakya.


You are on thin ice here as both Gelug and Sakya recognize and train tulkus. Neither are completely devoid of tulkus although the relationship with the recognition can be different. You in fact note this wrt Sakya sub-sects. Your example wrt the office of the Dalai Lama is strained at best. In fact Gelug tulkus can indeed be sought (other than the Dalai and Panchen lamas).

Kirt


Most so called "Sakya" tulkus are Nyingma reincarnations trained in Sakya through circumstances of region. The Zimog tulkus of Nalendra are a notable exception to this. As I said most of the Sakya tulkus come from East Tibet, which is very removed from Central Tibet. Even here, Sakya in Derge belongs to Ngor, not Tshar, and Sakya monasteries in east Tibet were under the adminstration of Ngor. Of all four schools, Sakya has the least number of tulkus.


I certainly trust the Sakya lamas to be able to negotiate a repudiation of tulkus as an institution if they saw that the institution was not beneficial. BTW - I was startled when a Sakya lama said to me flat out that tulkus were nirmanakayas. There was absolutely no hedging of the issue on his part.

AFA Gelug is concerned — there may be an effort to find Tulkus, but the administration of Gelug is in the hands of educated geshes, not reincarnations, for the most part.


Wrt to both paragraphs, administration was not under discussion (at least not originally).

What are the purposes of tulkus? Well one of them *IS* to bring in money, esp. as a result of pilgrimage tours. However the primary purpose is to benefit beings in some way. This can be very open. Lama Lodro notes five basic purposes in his bardo teachings book (miraculous activities, meditation, scholarship, institution building [I'm pretty sure he has another term here but it's really institution building, and teaching - I'll have to double check this though). Even so these can be pretty broad categories and practically anything can be subsumed under these categories. Tulku Thondup goes into these activities and more in detail in Incarnation. The Red Book (history of the Nyingma, Dudjom Rinpoche) talks about the purposes of tulkus in several places.

The basic job of a tulku is to benefit beings. Very open-ended with few detailed position responsibilities (at least in some cases, officially - high reincarnations are definitely restricted and constrained from birth in many cases). We can say that the purpose of recognized reincarnations is to do something extraordinary and this is the primary hope and promise of the institution. The institution is a means of injecting charismatic activity into Tibetan Buddhism (one avenue for that and now the primary one since mahasiddhas generally don't exist much anymore and are not showing themselves openly). The institution can also be seen as a secondary means of lineage transmission, apparently wrt terma transmission (the story of Apong Terton's Red Tara beig transmitted to HHST fits this). In the west most tulkus were clearly expected to become teachers and this had mixed results.

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:32 pm

kirtu wrote: I was startled when a Sakya lama said to me flat out that tulkus were nirmanakayas.


He can believe whatever he wants. I'll do the same.

The Red Book (history of the Nyingma, Dudjom Rinpoche) talks about the purposes of tulkus in several places.


This is not talking about the purpose of Tibetan reincarnations.

The basic job of a tulku is to benefit beings.


Yes of course. I don't really believe most of the people recognized as tulkus are emanations of the Sambhogakāya. You can if you like, it is up to you, not me.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:55 pm

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote: The Red Book (history of the Nyingma, Dudjom Rinpoche) talks about the purposes of tulkus in several places.


This is not talking about the purpose of Tibetan reincarnations.


Dudjom Rinpoche does into the purpose of tulkus in some detail in the Red Book. I quoted the relevant sections to you when we had this discussion on eSangha.

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:The basic job of a tulku is to benefit beings.


Yes of course. I don't really believe most of the people recognized as tulkus are emanations of the Sambhogakāya. You can if you like, it is up to you, not me.


Ok. Although I think using the verb "believe" misses the point. Also not all tulkus are in fact emanations of the Sambhogakaya. Most in fact aren't. Most are just rebirths of virtuous practitioners.

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Last edited by kirtu on Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:57 pm

kirtu wrote: I quoted the relevant sections to you when we had this discussion on eSangha.


That was years ago.


Ok. Although I think using the verb "believe" misses the point.

Kirt


So you think Steven Segal is a true blue Nirmanakāya? :crazy:
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote: I quoted the relevant sections to you when we had this discussion on eSangha.


That was years ago.


Nonetheless the passages exist (although not on the Wayback Machine). I unfortunately no longer have access to that text.


Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:Ok. Although I think using the verb "believe" misses the point.

Kirt


So you think Steven Segal is a true blue Nirmanakāya? :crazy:


As I said, using the verb "believe" (or in this form "think" in this context) is not relevant. I have no idea why HHPR recognized him. However judging by Seagal's later behavior clearly he hasn't begun getting the necessary work done in this life. If he is a tulku, then he is on the fast track to becoming a fallen one.

Also I personally would never say that a tulku was a nirmanakaya, except in the restricted sense that you have often mentioned of a sutra or a statue also being a nirmanakaya (even then I'd avoid that term when referring to most humans).

I know of no Palyul people who have gone to Seagal for anything (except perhaps martial arts lessons). I am of course aware that Naropa sponsored a lecture from him and he went and played dress-up.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:08 pm

kirtu wrote:
As I said, using the verb "believe" (or in this form "think" in this context) is not relevant. I have no idea why HHPR recognized him.


Maybe HHPR was hoping that Segal would remember where his past incarnation found all that terma paint.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby conebeckham » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:18 pm

kirtu wrote:Cone - as everyone knows, Kongtrul's "recognition" was political. This fact does not mean that we should extrapolate that assessment to other recognitions or assume that the political motive is the primary one.

As for his account of former lives, I'll hunt it down. However Kongtrul was skeptical about these kinds of things to begin with. Sort of reminds me of Namkhai Norbu ....

I'll also note that both Khyentse Wangpo and Chokyur Lingpa had to basically kick him in the pants to get him acting as a terton (and that account strains my credulity in fact). However Kongtrul was far from being a kind of politically biased skeptic: the pony/horse race where he came in last, began crying, was chided for this by attendants and had to explain that in reality the race had been no ordinary race but a foreshadowing of the respective parinirvana's of the participants is an example.

Kongtrul also wrote an explanation of the tulku phenomena without a trace of skepticism for the enthronement of the 10th Tai Situpa (it appears in Enthronement). Of course of could counter that this ceremony was the very height of political activity in the Karma Kagyu at the time. However, to my knowledge, Kongtrul did not find it necessary to criticize the institution as did the 10th Panchen Lama.

So sometimes a race is political, sometimes it's just a race and sometimes it's not a race at all and Kongtrul recognized this.

Kirt


Yes. It is possible to recognize the samsaric quality of the Tulku system, (or terma discovery and terton recognition, for that matter) without completely discounting the system, the potential "truth" of Tulku phenomena, or even one's own recognition. That's my point. It's an analysis that is Eyes Wide Open, if you will. BTW, the accounts by Kongtrul of his past lives are included in the same volume. He himself wrote them down. My position is that the whole thing is more nuanced than the way it is often presented.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:34 pm

conebeckham wrote: BTW, the accounts by Kongtrul of his past lives are included in the same volume. He himself wrote them down.


Oh, in the Mirage of Nectar text after the eulogy by Nesar Karma Tashi Choepel. I have not really finished the book because I could not bring myself to read that section and I only glanced at either of the two final texts.

My position is that the whole thing is more nuanced than the way it is often presented.


Yes, definitely.

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Sherlock » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:30 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:So you believe that hereditary religious leadership is better than the tulku system? Or do you prefer the Gelug model?

PS The Dalai Lamas are tulku, are they not?


I think the Gelug model is best for the West.

HHDL is a tulku, however, the Fith Dalai Lama's recognition was fraudulent, according to his autobiography, and every one from the 8th to the 13th was selected by a lottery operated by the Qing dynasty Ambans.

M


Well, the 5th didn't pick the belongings of the 4th correctly. Maybe it was the 4th's recognition that was politically motivated to cement relations with the Mongols and the 5th really was a continuation of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Malcolm » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:46 pm

Sherlock wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:So you believe that hereditary religious leadership is better than the tulku system? Or do you prefer the Gelug model?

PS The Dalai Lamas are tulku, are they not?


I think the Gelug model is best for the West.

HHDL is a tulku, however, the Fith Dalai Lama's recognition was fraudulent, according to his autobiography, and every one from the 8th to the 13th was selected by a lottery operated by the Qing dynasty Ambans.

M


Well, the 5th didn't pick the belongings of the 4th correctly. Maybe it was the 4th's recognition that was politically motivated to cement relations with the Mongols and the 5th really was a continuation of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd.


Who knows? Why speculate? What we know is that despite the fact that the 5th's recognition was fraudulent, he was a great master, one of the most important in Tibetan history.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby ngodrup » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:09 pm

I'm really inclined to accept Cone's middle way.

Tulkus are integral to all lineages, even the family lineages.
The key question is how well are they trained? Some few
might not need extensive training, but others clearly do.
Of course it will be best if they are recognized earlier,
rather than as adults. Or at least, trained as children.

Now, if Western Buddhists don't wish to follow lineages,
no problem. It is also not required that one accept a particular
teacher solely on the basis of recognition as a tulku or as the
'regent' heir apparent of the lineage.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Punya » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:04 pm

Empowerments seem to be the thread that carries on the Tibetan vajrayana tradition. Just curious how these would be given if not by members of the reincarnate or family lineages. What happens, for example, in the Gelugpa tradition (although there are obviously some reincarnations are recognised in this tradition as well).
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:12 pm

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

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"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."

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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby jmlee369 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:33 am

Punya wrote:Empowerments seem to be the thread that carries on the Tibetan vajrayana tradition. Just curious how these would be given if not by members of the reincarnate or family lineages. What happens, for example, in the Gelugpa tradition (although there are obviously some reincarnations are recognised in this tradition as well).


The technical requirements for giving empowerments are not that difficult to meet. One first needs to receive the empowerment, then perform the approximation retreat, and then know the procedure for giving the empowerment. Of course, beyond these technical requirements, people should possess as many of the 10 qualities of a Mahayana teacher as well as the 10 qualities of a Vajrayana teacher as possible, and ideally have the approval of their own teacher to take on students. None of these would require a reincarnate or family lineage as a prerequisite.
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Re: Recognising reincarnations

Postby heart » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:22 am

jmlee369 wrote:
Punya wrote:Empowerments seem to be the thread that carries on the Tibetan vajrayana tradition. Just curious how these would be given if not by members of the reincarnate or family lineages. What happens, for example, in the Gelugpa tradition (although there are obviously some reincarnations are recognised in this tradition as well).


The technical requirements for giving empowerments are not that difficult to meet. One first needs to receive the empowerment, then perform the approximation retreat, and then know the procedure for giving the empowerment. Of course, beyond these technical requirements, people should possess as many of the 10 qualities of a Mahayana teacher as well as the 10 qualities of a Vajrayana teacher as possible, and ideally have the approval of their own teacher to take on students. None of these would require a reincarnate or family lineage as a prerequisite.


Without a certain amount of realization, giving empowerment's would be a travesty. I would say it is a technical requirement.

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