domenica 15 novembre 2015

The illusion of reincarnation

In modern Buddhist jargon, the terms ‘rebirth’ and ‘reincarnation’ are considered synonyms and, due mainly to the popularity of some lamas regarded as tulkus or, as is commonly said, ‘reincarnations’ of important spiritual masters of the past, the conviction has spread that the belief in reincarnation is really based on the Buddha’s teaching. But, as Gyatrul Rinpoche affirmed, the ‘genuine tulkus’ are not persons who, after having discarded a body, come back to take another one; instead they are ‘effortless emanations’ comparable to ‘light rays emanating from the sun.’* Therefore, if tulkus do not transmigrate according to the common conception of reincarnation, what does the rebirth of people who are not tulkus consist in?

* Padmasambhva, Natural Liberation, Commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche, Boston, Wisdom Publications, 2008, pp. 151-152.