The History and Mysticism of the Tulku Tradition of Tibet
By Tulku Thondup
(Shambhala, Paperback, 9781590308394, 128pp.)
Publication Date: August 9, 2011
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A tulku is a fully enlightened one (buddha) or highly accomplished 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 laypeople. 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. Included are accounts of the magical occurrences that are associated with these remarkable beings, and advice for how anyone can set out on the tulku path.
Tulku Thondup Rinpoche was born in East Tibet and was recognized 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. For the past three decades he has lived 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, which has now been published in eighteen languages, and Boundless Healing, which has been published in eleven languages.
"For the first time ever, the principle of tulkus, or incarnations —such a vitally 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