Incarnation: The History and Mysticism of the Tulku Tradition of Tibet

Incarnation: The History and Mysticism of the Tulku Tradition of Tibet, by Tulku Thondup. The best-selling author of The Healing Power of Mind presents a historical overview and detailed explanation of the phenomenon of incarnate enlightened beings, known as tulkus in Tibetan. A tulku, out of kindness for beings, is born again and again as a teacher who dedicates his or her life to serving others, specifically through sharing the teachings of the Buddha. He or she is usually recognized by those well-trained friends and students who were close to the previous incarnation and who have the appropriate insight to recognize their deceased master in the form of a very young child. Throughout the history of Tibetan Buddhism, tulkus have been the standard-bearers of the tradition and providers of spiritual and social guidance for both the ordained and the lay people of that culture.

The book covers the following topics: the fundamental principle of the tulku; the three kinds of tulkus; the methods for recognizing tulkus; stories of tulkus' miracles and clairvoyance; the goals fulfilled by them; the roles tulkus have played in history; and the attainments they have displayed at death.

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Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, an esteemed author and teacher, was born in East Tibet and studied at the famed Dodrupchen Monastery. In 1958 he settled in India, where he taught at Indian universities for many years. He came to the United States in 1980 as a visiting scholar at Harvard University. For the past two decades he has lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, engaging in translation and writing on Tibetan Buddhism, particularly the Nyingma teachings, under the auspices of the Buddhayana Foundation.