Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tulku--Divine Great Expectations?

Tulkus are highly revered spiritual leaders in Buddhism.  In the 1970s, a phenomena occurred where Buddhist believe that some of the great spiritual leaders had been reincarnated and reborn in the West.  The challenge is that many of these reborn tulkus do not immediately head off to Tibetan  monastaries to wear saffron robes and never be heard from again.

Ashoka Mukpo is one of the Western tulkus.  Ashoka Mukpo was enthroned in Tibet, which was an experience that he found intense and somewhat uncomfortable But this “double life” is was blessed with as a tulku proved to be disconcerting to reconcile with living in America.  Mukpo observed:

When you're 15, you can't say, 'Dude, I'm a reincarnated spiritual master from the hills of Tibet…without people thinking you're weird as fuck. Now it's just a pain in the ass.

[L] Ashoka Mukpo with [R] half brother Gesar Mukpo. Both are considered Tulkus
The karma that Ashoka Mukpo is following is not to be a teacher but to serve humanity by working for the American branch of Human Rights Watch.  While Mukpo did not adopt the life of a Buddhist monk living secularly in the West, he does have a thangka wall portrait of his previous incarnation, Khamyon Rinpoche

.Considering the great reverence which Tibetan Buddhism places on the wisdom stemming from tulkus, it is remarkable that their faith is unshaken by the reincarnation of the great spirits in Western boys who do not unconditionally embrace this karma.  The 2009 documentary Tulku by Geskar Mukpo, who himself is considered a Tulku, looks to be an interesting chronicle of the divine great expectations and how that clashes with coming to age in a different world.

No comments:

Post a Comment