Monday, June 01, 2009

Torres Rinpoche: Up In Lights (and Updated)

Britain's tabloid newspaper Guardian is running with this (I guess in honor of Buddha's Birthday):

"As a toddler, he was put on a throne and worshipped as by monks who treated him like a god. But the boy chosen by the Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of a spiritual leader has caused consternation – and some embarrassment – for Tibetan Buddhists by turning his back on the order that had such high hopes for him. Instead of leading a monastic life, Osel Hita Torres now sports baggy trousers and long hair, and is more likely to quote Jimi Hendrix than Buddha."

"Yesterday he bemoaned the misery of a youth deprived of television, football and girls. Movies were also forbidden – except for a sanctioned screening of The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy, about a kidnapped child lama with magical powers. "I never felt like that boy," he said.
He is now studying film in Madrid and has denounced the Buddhist order that elevated him to guru status. "They took me away from my family and stuck me in a medieval situation in which I suffered a great deal," said Torres, 24, describing how he was whisked from obscurity in Granada to a monastery in southern India. "It was like living a lie," he told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. Despite his rebelliousness, he is still known as Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche and revered by the Buddhist community. A prayer for his "long life" still adorns the website of the Foundation to Preserve the Mahayana Tradition, which has 130 centres around the world. The website features a biography of the renegade guru that gushes about his peaceful, meditative countenance as a baby. In Tibetan Buddhism, a lama is one of a lineage of reincarnated spiritual leaders, the most famous of which is the Dalai Lama. According to the foundation biography, another leader suspected Torres was the reincarnation of the recently deceased Lama Yeshe when he was only five months old. In 1986, at 14 months, his parents took him to see the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. The toddler was chosen out of nine other candidates and eventually "enthroned".

To read the whole article, follow this link.

Before everybody starts jumping up and down, nowhere does it say he is turning his back on all sentient beings; only that he is turning his back on "a medieval situation," and in doing so, maybe he is holding up a nice, shiny mirror.

I think movie making is a phase we all go through -- I just hope he doesn't let film school stand in the way of actually making films, because that would be like letting tulku school stand in the way of being a tulku.

Gee, is... is that Tenpa and Trinh in the same 1993 copyrighted photo?
Do you mean... do you mean... it wasn't all made up just for us?
Are we so vain we think this song is about us?

UPDATED: To see the Guardian story get cleaned up (and to see how sleazy the Guardian's brand of "journalism" can be), check the straight story here and here.

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