Monday, June 26, 2017

Carpe Diem #1209 reincarnation the Tibetan Vision

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Haiku Kai. this month it is all about Tibet, a Magical Experience, we have seen already the beauty of Tibet and we have read wonderful poems written by the renown Tibetan poet and yogi Milarepa and today we are going to look a little bit closer to one of the "pillars" of Budhism, reincarnation.
In our first CDHK Theme Week the one about the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, we have already had a quick look at reincarnation, but for this episode I decided to dive into the matter of reincarnation (especially Tibet ideas) a bit more. However ... I couldn't really find a good background on this and so I had to decide to search the Internet. I ran into a nice essay about Tibetan ideas on reincarnation which I love to share here with you.

As you maybe know in Tibetan Buddhism the only one who can recognize a reincarnation is His Holiness The Dalai Lama. His last recognition (as far as I know) was on July 9th 2013. He then recognized a Tibetan boy born in Nepal as the reincarnation of one of his teachers and former head of Nyingma, the oldest tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Tibetan spiritual leader gave his seal of recognition to Ngawang Tenzin Choekyi Lodoe Rabsel, a Tibetan boy born to Choeling Trulku Ngawal Choepal Gyatso and Paylung Tsewang Dolma in Kathmandu on July 25, 2013.

The announcement was made on July 6, 2015 to coincide with the 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Ngawang Tenzin Choekyi Lodoe Rabsel, the recognized reincarnation of Trulshik Rinpoche of
It is a bit stronge to see a young boy (above) as the reincarnation of one of the Heart Lamas of Nyingma, the oldest tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. As this little boy was recognized as a reincarnated spiritual teacher he was just 2 years. From the moment of recognition the life of this young boy and his family will change drastical. However the parents of this young boy will be grateful and honored that their son will become one of the leading Tibetan Lamas.

Tibetan reincarnation (tulku)?

The reincarnation system (tulku), a distinguishing characteristic of Tibetan Buddhism, is based on the theory that Buddha's soul never vanishes, but reincarnates in succession to lead his followers and to accomplish his mission. One of the first reincarnations among the Buddhist monks in Tibet is Karma Pakshi. In 1193, before Dusum Chenpa, a religious leader, the first Karmapa of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, passed away, he told his disciples that he would return as a reincarnated being. His disciples soon led a search for his infant reincarnation in accordance with his will. Several years later, Karma Pakshi turned out as the first reincarnation in Tibet and trained to be Karma Kagyu leader. After Karma Pakshi's reincarnation, the reincarnation system was adopted by other sects gradually to keep a consistent religious leadership. By applying the system, heirs for hundreds of Gyalwas (Living Buddhas) were selected, among whom the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama are the most prestigious. The Yellow Hat sect, Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism also applied the system to hand down the titles conferred on the third Dalai Lama and the fourth Panchen Lama to keep their established religious and secular title and power. By the end of the Qing Dynasty there were 160 high lamas registered with the Board for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs, each applying the reincarnation system to identify their next successors.
Lhamo Latso Lake

Religious methods and rituals are used to identify a reincarnation of a late high lama. A search party headed by another high lama begins the search. After a religious retreat, lamas, dispatched in disguise, scour Tibet for special signs: new mothers who had unusual dreams, children who have special knowledge without being taught, and special physical traits, such as big ear lobes. The lamas refer to oracles, portents, dreams and  the late lama's prophesy in order to aid them in their search. Some lamas are sent to Lhamo Latso, the Oracle Lake, to look for prophetic visions to help locate the reincarnation.
Once the High Lamas have found the home and the boy they believe to be the reincarnation, the boy undergoes a series of tests to affirm the rebirth. They present a number of artifacts, only some of which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, and if the boy chooses the items which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, this is seen as a sign, in conjunction with all of the other indications, that the boy is the reincarnation.

Many believe the Dalai Lama to be an earthly manifestation of Avalokiteśvara (Chenrezig). Eventhough this thought was only recently formulated by the fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso ( 1617 -1682 ). It is said that Padmasambhava prophesied that Avalokiteśvara will manifest himself in the Tulku lineages of the Dalai Lamas and the Karmapas. Another Tibetan source explains that Amitabha Buddha gave to one of his two main disciples, Avalokiteśvara, the task to take upon himself the burden of caring for Tibet. In Tibetan Buddhism, Tara came into existence from a single tear shed by Chenrezig. When the tear fell to the ground it created a lake, and a lotus opening in the lake revealed Tara. In another version of this story, Tara emerges from the heart of Chenrezig. In either version, it is Chenrezig’s outpouring of compassion which manifests Tara as a being.

As I was preparing this episode I also sought for haiku on reincarnation and I ran into a nice haiku written by Martha Magenta:
each raindrop
lost at sea

© Martha Magenta

And I found another nice haiku on reincarnation by Rajkumar Mukherjee:

future born in me
with love of present for past
who knows what he holds

© Rajkumar Mukherjee

By the way I couldn't find a way to contact them to ask their permissions, so if you know these two poets or you are one of these two poets, please let me know if you are okay with it.

Reincarnation (Dutch website)
Here are a few poems I wrote on reincarnation or related themes:

several lives
once lived and re-lived -
Lotus blooms again
reaching for a new day of life
cherished by the sun
the final frontier
to become newly born -
conquering death
phoenix spreads its wings
after the dark cold winter night
finally spring
© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 1st at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, Tibetan Book of Death, later on.


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