The Reincarnate Lama Biz & Monasteries

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Nick
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The Reincarnate Lama Biz & Monasteries

Postby Nick » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:03 am

The Tibetan tradition of reincarnate lamas ("tulkus") is showing signs of unravelling. "Tulkus" identified in the West reach an age when they don't buy into the system, and blow it off, as shown in Gesar Mukpo's film, "Tulku", or seem lost as to what the meaning of it all is. The film about Namkhai Norbu and son, titled "My Reincarnation" shows a similar disconnect for Norbu's Italian-born son, Yeshi.

One of the newest Tibetan tulkus to appear on the scene is Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche, said to the be the reincarnation of Kalu Rinpoche. At 21 Yangsi Kalu R. gave back his vows after his first tour of the West, and made a video in which he tells the world that he's just an ordinary human being, and that he was sexually abused and suffered a murder attempt in the monastery where he was raised. On his website he says when he reached "his" centers in France (founded by his predecessor, the elder Kalu Rinpoche), some were abandoned, and others were run by corrupt monks who harassed women students. He has chosen to dedicate himself to reforming his centers and his corner of Tibetan Buddhism, and to building monasteries or boarding schools where boys can have a safe place to receive both a religious and secular education.

Were Buddhist monasteries ever what they were cracked up to be? Namkhai Norbu says in "My Reincarnation" that he suffered such serious abuse while being raised in a monstery, even as a privileged tulku, that he refused to send his son to one for his education. The routine sexual abuse in Tibetan monasteries is detailed by one Buddhist lama here:
http://lamashree.org/dalailama_08_child ... teries.htm
Harvard professor Obeyesekere has some thoughtful comments on the vulnerability of boy novices forced to live with celibate adults in monasteries in Sri Lanka here: http://www.infolanka.com/org/srilanka/cult/13.htm

Is the practice of identifying reincarnate lamas real, or a fairy tale hiding political machinations? In the early 20th Century, Lama Gedun Choepel walked away from the monastery he headed as a reincarnate lama, saying he'd been "living a lie". The Dalai Lama's oldest brother, according to his autobiography "Tibet Is My Country", never got over missing his family, and, though a tulku, abandoned his monastery to move to Lhasa after his youngest brother was identified as the Dalai Lama. After he later moved to the US, he forgot all about being a tulku, married a teenager, and settled down to a secular life as a university instructor. How an obscure farming family produced 4 Tulkus, one being the Dalai Lama to boot, isn't explained. Namkhai Norbu is said to be two tulkus rolled into one, with more among his siblings.

Often, tulkuships get passed down within a family, from uncle to nephew. Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche is the son of a lama who was the elder Kalu Rinpoche's nephew. (Surprise--celibate monks have children, important tulkus, even!) According to some accounts, the objects the child is supposed to identify as belonging to his predecessor are manipulated, so that the already pre-selected child chooses the right ones.

In the film, "Tuklu", Dzongsar Khentse Rinpoche says that "if Tibetans aren't careful, the tulku system will be the downfall of Buddhism." Are we seeing the beginning of the end of an era?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Ka3bEN1rs

http://www.paldenshangpa.net/2011/09/a- ... he-future/
http://www.paldenshangpa.net/2011/04/br ... in-france/
http://www.paldenshangpa.net/2011/04/li ... nes-again/

http://films.nfb.ca/tulku
http://myreincarnationfilm.com/

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fromthehills
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Re: The Reincarnate Lama Biz & Monasteries

Postby fromthehills » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:44 pm

I live in a small community where there are several Buddhist sects and many of those Tibetan. One of the major ones seems to be more of a sex cult where members try to see who can one up the other by offering more expensive food to the spirits, or drive the better version of a black Audi, or who's daughter has the best English riding apparel. We ( many of us non members of the Songa ) nicknamed the renpoche the "pimp-o-shay". Being Irish, I like to say it "Pimp O'Shay". He tends to find a "spiritual connection" with the new, hot devotee, while his wife has a separate house with a long time lover. It is suspected, on reasonable grounds, yet not confirmed that he has had sex with many of the female followers. I couldn't blame the guy, he get's plenty of young woman action, and many luxuries paid for by the well off, American followers, including his house, his wife's house, their fancy cars, and frequent international travel. It's a pretty good gig if one is a BS peddler.

Imagine Pyrrho getting this kind of treatment. Guys get to pay for a cabin, and live in solitude for three months at a time, racking up a post count, while the women are servicing their Skeptic leader.

Nick
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Re: The Reincarnate Lama Biz & Monasteries

Postby Nick » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:22 pm

I don't want to get too off-topic, fromthehills, but one of the sects that fits your description has been reported to be anti-Irish. The leader has also gone on record publicly for having had sex with over 500 women. This is the kind of thing that , depending on how you look at it, either gives Tibetan Buddhism a bad name or reveals it for what it is, underneath the veneer of Buddhist compassion and wisdom teachings.

This is a topic for another thread, but I don't understand why women flock around this kind of guy. The Tibetan Buddhist centers I've been to, women quit or sit as far away from the lama as possible, due to harassment. Some of these "holy" guys can be pretty bold. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the term "holy roller". :p

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fromthehills
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Re: The Reincarnate Lama Biz & Monasteries

Postby fromthehills » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:26 pm

My wife, quite a while ago before we were together, in my head, in her's I think we were dating, attended some of the events of one of the other sects, and quite liked it. She did emphasize to me that there were many great things about Buddhism that didn't really need all the fancy spiritualism. Remain calm, is what I gathered.

Anyway, here's a glimpse of my town.

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Major Malfunction
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Re: The Reincarnate Lama Biz & Monasteries

Postby Major Malfunction » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:23 am

fromthehills wrote:Anyway, here's a glimpse of my town.

miscellaneous New Age happenings

:laff:
This being was produced using the same process as other beings, and therefore, may contain traces of nuts.

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Gord
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Re: The Reincarnate Lama Biz & Monasteries

Postby Gord » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:45 am

fromthehills wrote:Anyway, here's a glimpse of my town.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Winnipeg

:glare: I live here, and I have no idea what this movie is talkin' about.
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
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fromthehills
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Re: The Reincarnate Lama Biz & Monasteries

Postby fromthehills » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:30 pm

Major Malfunction wrote:
fromthehills wrote:Anyway, here's a glimpse of my town.

miscellaneous New Age happenings

:laff:


That describes the place quite well.


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