The Tibetan belief in reincarnation poses problems of responsibility, if one soul continues to play the same role over 500 years. Combined with the idea of karma one wonders how today’s events are connected to the unique soul we call the Dalai Lama. Peter Kingsley raises the question Is the Dalai Lama paying for his horrible crimes as the Dalai Lama in previous incarnations?
Peter Kingsley’s book A Story Waiting to Pierce You: Mongolia, Tibet and the Destiny of the Western World (2010) argues forcefully that shamanism is the heart of philosophy and that the concept of incarnation and re-incarnation is central as well. The word tulku in Mongolian and Tibetan tradition was used “for identifying a great being who out of compassion has decided to become embodied by taking birth in human form (p. 41).” Kingsley claims that the Mongolian shaman Abaris traveled to ancient Greece and recognized Pythagoras as an incarnation of the god Apollo. He did this by giving Pythagoras the golden arrow which he carried in his hand. The symbols of the Greek god Apollo were his bow and golden arrows. Kingsley argues, based on the extant texts, that the philosopher Parmenides was also a tulku, an incarnation of Apollo.
Those of us who are familiar with the concept…
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