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Posts Tagged ‘Arjia Rinpoche’

Beyond the Dalai Lama: Profiles of Four Tibetan Lamas-in-Exile

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 29, 2011

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Dias, a TIME contributor based in Washington.

When the Dalai Lama came to Washington this month, he wasn’t alone. Accompanying the spiritual leader of Tibetans-in-exile were a group of other leading rinpoches, or reincarnate lamas and teachers. These Tibetan clerics, or “precious jewels” as the term rinpoche means, often keep their national and international influences low profile. Kate Saunders, director of communications for the International Campaign for Tibet, says this in part because the “one thing virtually all Tibetans share is loyalty to the Dalai Lama.” Yet as His Holiness nears the twilight of his life, attention has already shifted to those who are shouldering the mantle of his spiritual leadership overseas — the Dalai Lama already ceded his political powers earlier this year. TIME caught up with four of these leaders to hear their own stories of Tibetan leadership.

Gomo Tulku Rinpoche (Photo: Courtesy Gomo Tulku Rinpoche)
Gomo Tulku Rinpoche (Photo: Courtesy Gomo Tulku Rinpoche)

Gomo Tulku Rinpoche, 22

A “Recording-Artist Rinpoche” may seem unlikely, but then you have Gomo Tulku Rinpoche. He hails from the same Gelugpa lineage as the Dalai Lama, who recognized Gomo Tulku’s reincarnation at age three.

While his previous incarnation reportedly enjoyed ritual dance and music, Gomo Tulku takes this passion to an entirely new level. Three years ago he quit the Sera Je Monastery in south India to pursue a music career in Italy. That was not an easy decision. Since age 7 he’d been trained to become a teaching monk. Without telling anyone, “I booked the tickets myself and I left,” he recalls. “Being a lama, if that is my role, as a teacher, then at least I need to know what life is.”

Today he has created his own sound, one that trades traditional chant for a fusion of contemporary hip-hop and R&B with some slash and pop, and on July 28, he is set to release his first single, “Photograph.” Gomo Tulku works with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition and its 160 centers worldwide even as he is busy “spitting lines.” Here’s the line he spit for TIME: “I’m constantly dazed and confused, I never cease to be amazed by the views.” It’s an impromptu composition, but nevertheless it reveals his honest approach of self-discovery. As he describes it, he is trying “to find myself in a different way and experience life and share it with my people” and to “have that direct interaction instead of being on the throne. I want to come down with you guys, just chill with you guys and talk.” Read the rest of this entry »

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