Tulku

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Tulku

Term for a Tibetan entity recognized in a present incarnation. Tibetan Buddhism teaches that highly evolved individuals become spiritually liberated by abandoning the sense of ego or separate identity, but the spiritual forces comprising such an individual may still elect to be reborn for the benefit of other people. It is believed they are only illusory manifestations sustained by the sense of ego.

Traditional tests exist for the identification of tulkus, especially in the case of the Dalai Lama. Other contemporary tulkus include Chogyam Trungpa (1939-1987), author of the book Born in Tibet (London, 1966) and Tarthang Tulku, both popularly known by their disciples as "Rinpoche," a title meaning "precious master."

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Tulku (Tib., sprul.sku., ‘Transformation Body’). A title applied in Tibetan Buddhism to a reincarnate lama, i.e. to one who is understood to have already attained lamahood in a previous life. Thus the present fourteenth Dalai Lama, for example, is considered to be the same ‘person’ as the first Dalai Lama, successively reincarnating within the same office.