Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lineages of tulkus may be interlinked — for example the Panchen Lama traditionally recognizes the new incarnation of the Dalai Lama and vice versa. In other cases there is no such relationship, but in all cases the potential candidate is vetted by respected lamas who often use tests such as checking if the child can recognize persons or artifacts from his previous life or answer questions only knowable by his former self. As a tulku nears death the people around him listen carefully for clues which may help in finding his reincarnation. Sometimes a tulku will leave a prediction letter describing where they will be found. Prophecies, which may date forward or backward many generations, also play a role.
Personalities can be recognized as tulkus later in life: an example of this is actor Steven Seagal, an advocate for Tibetan Buddhist causes. Seagal was recognized as the reincarnation of a lama by Pema Norbu , but has never been trained or enthroned as a Buddhist teacher.
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