Karma Pakshi: The Origin of Reincarnation of Sprul-skus

2023-September-17 09:58 By: GMW.cn

On the 29th of November, 1995, the rite of lottery drawing from golden urn for the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen was held in front of the statue of Sakyamuni at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Xizang. Rgyal-mtshan Nor-bu, a child from Jiali County, Xizang, was confirmed as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen, who soon became the 11th Panchen. The reincarnation of Sprul-skus once again drew the world’s attention.

The reincarnation of Sprul-skus is a kind of inheritance unique to Tibetan Buddhism, which were different from the preacher-disciple and family inheritance practice in the past. Karma Pakshi, a Buddhist of the Karma-kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1256, was invited by Mongkol, a Mongolian Khan, to Helin. During that period, a sound political and religious relationship was established. Pakshi means “teacher” in Mongolian; Pakshi was the religious adviser and teacher of Mongkol.

When Kublai succeeded the seat of Khan from his elder brother Mongkol, Xianzong Emperor of Yuan, he faced rivalry from Mongkol’s another brother – this was known at the time as the “Fighting for the Throne”. In Xizang, the Karma-kagyu sect had some contentions with the Sa-kya sect. Involved in the political and religious struggle, Karma Pakshi wanted to not only renew his own sect, but also extend it; he created the Sprul-skus reincarnation system under Buddhist theory. He told those around him before his death where he’d reincarnate after he passed away.

In 1283, Karma Pakshi passed away. In 1284, Rang vbyung rdo rje was born in Gongtang, Xizang, and was recognized by Karma Pakshi’s disciple, Orgyenpa Rinchen Pal, as Karma Pakshi’s reincarnation, with succession ceremony held at Tsurphu Monastery, making him the successor of Karma Pakshi. This is how the reincarnation system of Sprul-skus was formally established.

After hundreds of years’ evolution, a set of rigorous and strict religious rituals has been developed for the reincarnation of Sprul-skus, mainly including a domestic searching for soul boy, identification, enthronement and so on. Among them, lottery drawing from the golden urn for influential Sprul-skus and applying for approval from the central government have become a historical convention, and the tradition of searching the reincarnated child within China had long become an unchangeable principle.

This system marks a historical succession of the religious belief in Xizang. More and more Sprul-skuses with renowned achievements and high moral standards have since contributed to the country and the religion by engaging in substantial deeds beneficial to all. Sprul-skus enjoys a special social status in the Tibetan Buddhism system. They play an important role in working with the government in forging a strong sense of the community for the Chinese nation and in adapting Tibetan Buddhism to Chinese conditions.

Tashi delek!

Editor: JYZ
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