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A Criticism of tulku selection process in tb?

Hi guys, i was wondering coming from a perspective of a skeptic/agnostic, what problems lies behind close doors for the tulku selection process that may not get talked about a lot? Thanks


  • What benefit is there in that? Why not open a door to disbelief with a quiet no thank you?

    You must be a Buddhist of some other sort or not at all?

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    Some doors are closed for a reason.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    I’m afraid I don’t know much about the Tulku selection process, just that they use the previous generation’s favorite toys which you’re supposed to pick out of a larger selection.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The liminal space Veteran
    edited November 2022

    Its been a while since I've been in the TB world.

    The tulku system can be abused by organizations to maintain power, they can select a candidate from an existing family. Or shenanigans to that effect.

    Personally I've always wondered about the objectivity of the selection process. Does the person testing the child know which items belonged to the previous lama? That sort of flaw right there is a basic tenet of scientific studies. If the tester does know perhaps all they are testing for are sensitive children that have some ability to intuit the correct choice. I'm guessing that those type of children will be more inclined and better able to absorb the meaning of the Dharma. So they may make good lamas but that doesn't mean they are a reincarnation of a previous teacher. But I honestly have no clue whether the tester has that knowledge or not.

    Edit: I'll add something that came to mind. 25 or so years ago I joined a TB sangha that had a couple monks they were supporting (we have a decent sized Tibetan population here) and a Geshe who earned top marks came to live and teach. I attended regularly for the few years he was there. After 3 or 4 years he was offered the head abbot position at Gyuto tantric college in India.

    Anyway, this past year the Tibetan sangha here sent an email saying he was coming back to visit and give some teachings. In the meantime he had been "recognized" as a tulku and now has the Rinpoche title.

    He was a good and kind teacher, this is nothing against him. It just seems rather convenient that even though they missed that he was a tulku for all those years he was a young monk, now that he was head of the college they could see that he was actually a tulku. It just seems so blatant a move to provide more status and credibility than an actual recognition.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @davidpham19 said:
    Hi guys, i was wondering coming from a perspective of a skeptic/agnostic, what problems lies behind close doors for the tulku selection process that may not get talked about a lot? Thanks

    What problems lie behind selecting a new Pope, behind closed doors? Or a new Ayatollah? is there a secret involving weighing all the facts up with thumbs on the scales? I
    'm sure these elections are run by those with agendas and ulterior motives. Like Political elections (I mean to say, look at the absolutely farcical fracas in British Politics!) You think that the apparent nobility of any religion exempts those in authority from being manipulative?

    Think again.
    Point not one finger at a single incident. Rather, mourn the absence of integrity and honesty, that pervades all the upper strata of all institutions, with a vacancy for a "respected" Leader.

    "Power, corrupts.
    Absolute power, corrupts absolutely."

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