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nenuflar

what is a tulku?

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hello to all,

 

I have a little question, i'm sorry if it looks a bit strange, but i heard a lot of terms and it can be confusing sometimes.

 

Lately i was in contact with some people who used the terms of tulku, lama, rinpoche, yangsi. And it's quite difficult to get clear informations.

 

Also I know some teachers, some are Geshe, and i know one case of misbehavior with one of them who is teaching in the West. I won't give names, but it's quite strange to me. He is supposed to be a teacher, and some people call him Lama. But he makes strange things. :roll:

 

What can we do in such case? It creates quite a lot of tension to see some Tibetan teacher that people just see like better Buddhist than westerners, because of the color of their skin. I don't want to look impolite or something, but it's quite confusing. :oops:

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge with me.

Nenuflar.

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Thanks for the answer, it clears out few points.

 

Actually I read on the title of the article that Lama Shenphen was having a Tulku name. What does that mean, is he a recognized Tulku from a Tibetan?

 

Strange, I thought he was occidental, as the picture on the web site shows? Was he actually officially recognized? By who?

Again I don't want to be impolite, but there is so much self made Gurus nowadays. Speacially on internet.

 

So this brings two more questions:

1. Was he recognized by His Holiness, as I heard it was necessary.

2. How to judge if one person is "fitting" is title? :P

 

Thank you for the answers, Nenuflar

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Actually I read on the title of the article that Lama Shenphen was having a Tulku name. What does that mean, is he a recognized Tulku from a Tibetan? Strange, I thought he was occidental, as the picture on the web site shows? Was he actually officially recognized? By who? Again I don't want to be impolite, but there is so much self made Gurus nowadays. Speacially on internet. So this brings two more questions:

1. Was he recognized by His Holiness, as I heard it was necessary.

2. How to judge if one person is "fitting" is title?

I will answer here, as it seems several misunderstanding are basis for troubles in those times...

It might exist already some more detailed explanation of how it took place, but to be brief we can say that my situation as reincarnation of a Tibetan Lama came out to be known officially in 1992. Yet, I was engaged in humanitarian and later in social activities, therefore I have somehow neglected all this. I must add that personally, titles remain titles, and do not bring much, else than responsibilities!

In early 2003, I have been contacted by Kharnang Jamyang Rinpoche, main Lama of Kharnang monastery in Tibet, where I have spent most of my previous life, till 1959. Rinpoche requested me to come to our monastery in Tibet, to perform the official enthronement ceremony and reconnect with the people from Kharnang area, among whom some of them are old and willing to meet me may a last time in this life.

Therefore, we went there, and the ceremony took place. You can see on this site some photos. This ceremony and the letter written by the Lamas and Abbot of Kharnang are the official recognition of the fact that I am the rebirth of Kharnang Gendun Rabgye. Of course, before to do so, several researches and divinations have been performed, and His Holiness has been consulted by Kharnang Jamyang Rinpoche.

Nevertheless, some people ask: "where is the letter from His Holiness the Dalaï-Lama then?". This is by not knowing that in Tibet most of the Tulkus are not recognized by His Holiness and his office, but by the highest local authority of the concerned monastery. Furthermore I can add, to be recognized officially by the Tibetan central administration of Dharamsala a Western Tulku, while having the intention to go directly to Tibet for ceremony, and for humanitarian help, was too risky. Politically, in regard with Chinese politic.

So, no, there is no letter from the office of His Holiness the Dalaï-Lama, and I do not see the need of it. But the letter from the Kharnang monastery, is available on this site, and officially translated.

 

It is rather 'funny' to see the way people try to check the Dharma teachers, not on the basis of their teaching and daily behavior, but just on papers, letters, and such. As we say: "whatever is the shape of a tree, we can judge it at the fruits it produces"!

 

I don't know what idea some people have about the title of "Tulku". Obviously, some see the possibility to get some kind of fame by receiving it. They seem to forget the amount of responsibilities which are going along, the need to undergo some more specific studies, to perform rituals, etc¦#133;!

 

I never waited any title to do the activities that I am continuing to do. I was not from a Buddhist family, but I remembered some images of my life before when I was a child. At the first opportunity, I became monk. I was then 16 years old, in France, and it was not easy at that time to enter so young a monastery. After some years, I started to teach, with the approval of my Abbot (Khensur Geshe Tegchog). Then, I wanted to help in a more concrete way, and went for studies and later practice of medico-humanitarian activities in India and Nepal. Later, we helped more in a social way, in France and Russia. Those activities were under AMCHI Association. Since I am 15 years, I am also healing some people with the energies, by hands.

I never considered myself as a good teacher. I

do not have much knowledge; and nowadays, because of those responsibilities, I have to study more. I answered requests from different people, and have been traveling in France, Spain, Russia, Austria, Romania, and Slovenia. I would rather like to do some retreats, and emphasize on the integration of Dharma in the daily life. But I will follow advises of my Holy Lamas, and comply with their directions. This is what I am doing.

 

As about how to see is someone ¦#147;fit¦#148; any title, it is described in the Lamrim that a qualified teacher should possesses ten qualities:

- He must be disciplined by the training in Ethic.

- Appeased by the training in meditative absorptions.

- Pacified by the training in Wisdom.

- His virtues are superior to the one of his disciples.

- He possesses energy and enthusiasm for the accomplishment of others benefit.

- He is rich of the study of the scriptures.

- He has a realization (manifest or conceptual) of Emptiness.

- He is able to teach and has skilful means.

- He reveals the doctrine with Compassion.

- He should not generate discouragement while having to repeat the instruction constantly.

 

We have to check thoroughly any teacher before to give our trust and consider this person as a ¦#147;Lama¦#148;, a Spiritual Guide! It is very important. Nowadays, many people, Westerners or Tibetans, are using Dharma to establish their position, get a ¦#145;social status¦#146;, fame, money, etc¦#133; This is not good at all, because it can also damage the trust people will have in Buddhism. Read the article about Ethic. Do not give your trust based on any scholastic degree or self-given title. Many people, when they see an Asiatic person, they project so strongly, that they forget to check anything. But just to be Tibetan, monk, and/or Geshe, doesn¦#146;t give automatically any Wisdom!

Tibetan or Westerner doesn¦#146;t change the qualities of the mind. I was Tibetan a life before, I am Westerner now. I know many good Western Dharma practitioners, and as much poor Tibetan Dharma practitioners! When you have lived a little bit in Tibetan monastery, you know a lot of stories, true stories, and often sad story from the point of view of ethic¦#133;

 

Nowadays, we can see some Geshes named as ¦#147;Lama¦#148; without any ground, else than having a degree in philosophy. Lharampa Geshe (somehow equivalent as a Doctorate in Buddhist philosophy) qualifies as a teacher. And they are excellent in this! They have memorized lot of texts, got explanations, practices debates; and can answer very precisely about many things. Nevertheless, words remain words; without experience, without years of inner practices and meditation, a Doctor in philosophy is not necessarily a Realized Being. And to consider him as such can lead to many problems, misunderstanding, and deceptions.

Within the Tibetan framework, it was not possible for a monk, a Geshe, to pretend to be what he was not. Because people have more Dharma knowledge, and because it¦#146;s easy to check, ask the monastery where this monk is coming from. Nowadays, it¦#146;s harder. But possible. When you hear about a so called ¦#147;Lama¦#148;, you can investigate, learn from where he is coming from, go to his ¦#145;root¦#146; monastery, and meet his Abbot or his main teacher. Or even send e-mail, as nowadays it can be easier. It is important to be sure before to take anyone as your ¦#145;root teacher¦#146;!

 

At the same time, when His Holiness the Dalaï-Lama says ¦#147;to spy¦#148; your Lama, it is not with the meaning to create troubles to Lamas you do not like, to discredit him because you are jealous, because you do not have the relation you would like to have with him, or wish to get rid of him for any other reason! Creating gossips, rumors, is a heavy negative karma!

 

We are in the Samsara. Many good things, many bad things. All the bad things are coming from our desire to self-cherish our little ¦#145;self¦#146;, comfort our ego, encourage our disturbed emotions. All the good is coming from the motivation to help others; to give up any personal, selfish quest and interest, but to dedicate entirely ou

r activities for the sake of as many sentient beings as possible!

 

It is a bit long, but he subject deserves it. And I hope this has answered your questions, and will be a basis to avoid further misunderstanding.

 

All the best, Gelong T. Shenphen

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Here are the links to topics mentioned by Rinpoche above:

AMCHI Association: http://www.amchi.org

Photos of enthronement in Tibet: HERE

 

Also, I recommend to read this very clear article from A. Berzin on the subject: HERE

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