May 17

Kalu Rinpoche | Experience of the bardo (Part 1)

Q: Can the experience of the bardo lead us to bad reincarnation?

A: I heard one scholar said, very interesting way of putting together, “karma is a biology”. It’s basically, it’s not something “out there”. We are the creator of the karma, and we are the accumulator of the karma. So there’s no external power that is navigating you. There is only yourself as a holder of the karma. And the karma is not something mysterious, it’s not something magical. Karma is simply something that accumulated by us, from our countless lifetimes. And then, as a present human being, and then we can create our future.

So being said that, “Can the experience of the bardo lead us to bad reincarnation?” So there’s two different things. All the sentient beings are reincarnations. So there’s a distinction between the tulku and the reincarnation. Like an example, the cow can reincarnate. A businessman, or noble man, or family owner, family ownership of some company, or things like that, they can also be reincarnated. However, it does not guarantee anything.

So all the sentient beings regardless of the nationalities, all of us, we are reincarnations. The difference between the realized reincarnation and the non-realized reincarnation, is that realized reincarnation they choose to come back, therefore we call them tulku. The concept of tulku, we tend to think that tulku is only to link with the Buddhism. We think that tulku is only Buddhism thing, or Buddhist ideology about how this system, the tulku system, and so on, so forth.

Actually, when you say “a tulku”, that means it is a realized being. A realized being is beyond the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism, or Theravada Buddhism, or Mahayana Buddhism, or any type of Buddhism. Tulku means a realized being. It is beyond all the different culture of Buddhism. It is beyond the idea of the religion. It’s simply continuity of a genuine loving and kindness and compassionate mindset, and wanting to liberate all the sentient beings to the Pureland, to nirvana, and that is the oath and that is the commitment of the tulku.

So they come in a different type of reincarnation. So they don’t have to be recognized in order to be a tulku. You don’t need to be recognized to be a tulku. Anybody can be a tulku and continue to benefit others beyond the image and beyond the ideas of this Buddhism or that Buddhism, this tradition or that tradition.

So reincarnation does not require a recognition. So that’s a very important thing to understand. The recognition is more like a ceremonial thing. So reincarnation, enlightened reincarnation is an individual who choose to come back, to continue the commitment of Bodhisattva, to benefit all the sentient beings in a different way, to liberate, eventually, to bring to the state of nirvana. So that is the meaning of tulku.

So tulku is not really stuck with one tradition or this tradition. It’s much more beyond that. So that’s something we have to understand, that’s number one.


Kalu Rinpoche
FB Livestream – 12 March 2021

To be continued…