A couple of more pieces on the ongoing saga of Osel Hita Torres who recently left monastic life and his tradition:
…you have to know what you are rejecting. Otherwise, the rejection has no meaning. So my advice to the gurus of Buddhism, who have been drumming their fingers for it, I am sure, is to be hopeful rather than worried. All spiritual leaders need their time in the wilderness. If Osel Torres spends the next five years trying to get into the film industry, listening to Hendrix and watching people bounce desperately around in smoky boxes, then returns to the path of the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, he could grow up into the greatest lama of all time.
Time magazine has also picked up on this story:
The abdication of the anointed tulku is a significant embarrassment to the group he was supposed to head, the powerhouse Foundation for the Preservation of the Monastic Tradition (FPMT), the foremost Tibetan teaching organization in the West. It also challenges Westerners who have adopted Buddhism to find more sophisticated ways of understanding its magical side.
Time goes on to quote Robert Thurman on the issue:
Robert Thurman, a Buddhist scholar, former monk and friend of the Dalai Lama, recounts that when told years ago that Hita was to receive a traditional Buddhist education in India he expressed concern. Thurman’s argument: “If he wanted Tibetan traditional [education] he could have reincarnated in a Tibetan family in exile.” The result of the misplacement, he says, is that Hita “has broken away in a full-blown identity crisis.” Thurman thinks that after some time in our “busy postmodern world,” Hita may see the value of the Tibetan tradition, “which he will then be able to approach or not, of his own free choice.” And, he adds, “More power to him!”
Ah, reincarnation. Sacred truth or egoic refuge?