Incarnation: The History and Mysticism of the Tulku Tradition of Tibet
Thigles (spheres made of colorful lights), which filled the sky during the cremation of Khandro Pema Dechen on September 9, 2006 in Sikkim, India. This is seen as a sign of her high Dzogchen attainment, Photograph by Tsewang Trungkar.
“For the first time ever, the principle of tulkus, or incarnations-such a vi tally important part of the Buddhist tradition of Tibet-is explained with exceptional clarity and in fascinating detail. A jewel of a book from Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, one of our best living writers on Tibetan Buddhism.” -SOGYAL RINPOCHE, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
A” tulku IS A FULLY ENLIGHTENED ONE (buddha) or highly accom plished adept (siddha) who chooses to be reborn again and again for the benefit of all beings. Most tulkus, though, are the rebirths of well-trained masters who are engaged in spiritual training and serving others. Tibetan Buddhists have, for well over a millennium, been meticulously following the tradition of finding, recognizing, enthroning, training, and venerating these revered figures, who provide teachings of liberation for both monks and lay people. This guide to the tulku tradition covers its long history, separating fact from fiction, giving an overview of how the system works, and providing short biographies of some of the great tulkus of the past and present.
TULKU THONDUP RINPOCHE was born in East Tibet and was recog nized to be a tulku at age five. He studied at Tibet’s famed Dodrupchen Monastery, settling in India in 1958, and teaching for many years in its universities. He came to the United States in 1980 as a visiting scholar at Harvard University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he writes, translates, and teaches under the auspices of the Buddhayana Foundation. His numerous books include The Healing Power of Mind and Boundless Healing.