Is 62 year old Situ Rinpoche the literal reincarnation of Marpa Lotsawa himself as members of his sangha would have us believe?

In 1981 22 year old me met 27 year old Situ Rinpoche at an impromptu gathering here in Chicago.

The 16th Karmapa, his father since said Karmapa fled Tibet in 1959, was dying at American International Hospital in Zion, Illinois as we spoke.

With the benefit of hindsight 58 year old me can say without fear of contradiction that 62 year old Situ Rinpoche has never for a moment considered himself the literal reincarnation of Marpa Lotsawa based on what 27 year old Situ Rinpoche shared with us that morning when he needed someone to talk with that didn’t think he was the literal reincarnation of Marpa Lotsawa himself.

Us.

Speaking of Marpa and his example, in the name of Marpa’s lineage, let it be here said that any dharma practitioner whom in 2017 thinks Situ Rinpoche is the literal reincarnation of Marpa Lotsawa himself has no place in our sangha.

Furthermore, any Kara Kagyu sangha that in 2017 encourages its member to think that Situ Rinpoche is the literal reincarnation of Marpa Lotsawa himself is a direct threat to our sangha’s place among our fellow Buddhists in the society in which we practice the dharma and should thus publicly be called out as such here.

These people have nothing to do with us.

This isn’t practice.

It’s malpractice.

And the obligation to speak out against these people has fallen to us as a sangha here.

That 62 year old Situ Rinpoche’s sangha members speak here of him as the literal reincarnation of Marpa Lotsawa himself is symptomatic of what happens when a Rinpoche’s followers act out their anxiety about their relationship with their guru by indulging in behaviors one would under normal circumstances expect to find in a child suffering from separation anxiety in 2017 no longer works for us as dharma practitioner.

Enough already.

We have let the lunatics take over the asylum at a peril.

27 year old Situ Rinpoche didn’t see Marpa in himself when he looked in the mirror in the morning.

He envied 22 year old me for the opportunity to practice that which at 27 years of age Situ Rinpoche knew he would never have the opportunity to practice himself.

In 1981 27 year old Situ Rinpoche could quote volumes on the subject of patience without ever personally having had the opportunity to actually practice patience in his entire life to date.

27 year old Situ Rinpoche knew who he was in 1981.

And he resented it as anyone else his age would have in his position, the bird in the gilded cage of a life he had been forced by his elders to live since he was 5 years old.

In 2017 62 year old Situ Rinpoche, a prisoner of Shangri La, may well be resigned to the bird in the gilded cage of a life he was condemned to live since he was a 5 year old child.

For 2017, with China all in on recognizing another generation of “living Buddhas”, let us resolve that 62 year old Situ Rinpoche’s generation of Karma Kagyu tulkus be the last generation of Tibetan children imprisoned in the Shangri La of Tibetan Buddhism so preserved, like a bird in a gilded cage, regardless of any rationalization for perpetuating succession by reincarnation in our Buddhism.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Is 62 year old Situ Rinpoche the literal reincarnation of Marpa Lotsawa himself as members of his sangha would have us believe?

  1. Starshine

    Walking away isn’t liberating if you still believe in the cage. You can only become free where you are.

  2. Dechen Khadro.

    From your reasoning then the 17th Karmapa was not the 16th Karmapa.

    • I take your asking me whether or not I think the 17th Karmapa is the literal reincarnation of his predecessor is an insult to not only insult my intelligence but ever person who reads this.

      Shame on you.

      • Dechen Khadro.

        No, No, not at all. I was responding to your comments about a “literal reincarnation” in this article. If you feel this way about Marpa and Tai Situ how can you reject all the others that are and were recognized.

        • Any individual in our country today whom in 2017 cares about the subject of the 17th Karmapa as you do, who is the real Karmapa, and so on has no place in our sangha. Any sangha in the West today that allows its members to do as you have done here, insult our intelligence, hasas no place in our Buddhism.

          Shame on you.

          As stated above In 1992 33 year old me indulged 68 year old Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche on the subject of the 17th Karmapa.

          31 years later 58 year old me continues to indulge 92 year old Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche on the subject of the 17th Karmapa.

          It’s no skin off my nose.

          It has nothing to do with the dharma as far as 58 year old me is concerned.

          Who cares?

          People in Asia.

          This blog is about us, Western Buddhists, not them.

    • In 1992 my 64 year old guru Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche saw in Ogyen Trinley Dorje the literal reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa. For thirty year old me this was no skin off my nose. I didn’t care one way or the other.

      For 58 year old me, the 17th Karmapa is no more or no less the literal reincarnation of his predecessor than my 31 year old son, or any other 31 year old alive today is the literal reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa.

      • Dechen Khadro.

        I do enjoy reading your blog. You are a low ranked lama without much influence to really change the Karma Kagyu in America. I just do not think a lot of hot air steam and an old man’s stories of how “it used to be” 40 years” is going to make much of a difference.

        • In 1981 when the 16th Karmapa died here my 57 year old guru Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche was a mere monk from Thrangu Monastery sent to us by the 16th Karmapa to represent him in our country.

          Not being a Tulku, 57 year old Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche too was ranked a nobody as a lama in the Karma Kagyu hierarchy of his day, yet in 1992 at the age of 69 along with 59 year old Thrangu Rinpoche and 53 year old Akong Rinpoche, these three Tibetan exiles living in the West did the impossible, they prevailed over a 40 year old Shamar Rinpoche, one of the highest ranked lamas of the day, and enthroned a 7 year old Ogyen Trinley Dorje as 17th Karmapa at Tsurphu Monastery as the first ever child recognized by the Chinese Government as a “living” Buddha, and so on.

          The rest is history.

          At 58 years of age, despite my low rank as a lama, I am already the most influential Karma Kagyu lama of my generation in the world today, thanks entirely to the Internet.

          A mere 10 years after I posted my first comment to the internet on a MySpace message board I had created there in the Spring of 2016, “The Reluctant Lama,” which promptly went viral, this is so.

          The rest is history.

          Just as my 57 year old guru Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche was in the right place at the right time in 1981, so was I in 2006 at the age 47 in the right place the right time on the Internet.

          Today in 2017 at 58 years of age along with my following online we are shaping the future of the Karma Kagyu lineage just as my guru Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche did in his own time.

          And, again, the rest will be history.

          Or, not.

          Only time will tell.

          Either way it’s no skin off my nose.

          It’s all good to me as a lama of no rank with nothing to lose in any of this.

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