Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Little BuddhasChildren and Childhoods in Buddhist Texts and Traditions$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Vanessa R. Sasson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860265

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860265.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 February 2020

The Westernization of Tulkus

The Westernization of Tulkus

(p.398) Chapter 17 The Westernization of Tulkus
Little Buddhas

Elijah Ary

Oxford University Press

The Tulku (sprul sku) tradition, i.e., the tradition of recognizing young children, predominantly boys, as the reincarnations of defunct Tibetan masters and subsequently educated to become a sort of spiritual elite, has become one of Tibetan Buddhism’s defining characteristics. Over the years, the tradition has come to count among its members a small handful of Westerners. Contrary to tradition, many, if not all of these Western Tulkus, have chosen to lead lives outside the monastic communities of their predecessors, prompting mixed feelings from within the Tibetan Buddhist community. This chapter looks briefly at the history of Tulku institution, and at the development of recognizing Western children as re-embodiments of Tibetan Buddhist masters. Particular attention is paid to the education and upbringing these children receive, and to their subsequent choices to leave the monasteries and continue their activities in Western societies. It reflects on the implications of such an education and on the future of Westerners within the Tulku tradition.

Keywords:   Tulku, children, monastery, parent, Western buddhists, Tibet, master, education, reincarnation, bodhisattva

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .