Said Khenpo Jikmé Püntsok in 2019

Written by Rob Hogendoorn

In 2019, his student Khenpo Sodargye published some remarks by Khenpo Jikmé Püntsok (b. 1933 d. 2004) on ‘the Language and Behavior of Tulkus’:

‘As gurus or tulkus, if you are immoderately reckless, it is very possible to break precepts and vows. This means you may sit on the high throne and under the elegant parasol today, but tomorrow you could suffer a sudden, devastating decline. Nothing is scarier than recklessness, which can quickly pull you down from the throne and parasol. Little tulkus should be cautious and careful in particular. As the old saying goes, “Newborn ponies have to undergo hardship for nine eons, after nine eons they will become fierce horses. Therefore little tulkus have many unfavorable conditions when they are young.

In fact, as far as you are concerned, pure precepts are the foundation; on top of which, if you have wisdom and meditative concentration, that is supreme. Even if you have no wisdom or concentration, as long as you have pure precepts, since you have already been recognized as a tulku and havef the tulku throne, nobody will say you are not a tulku. Even if you cannot manage to make progress, ensure that you will not degenerate as time goes on.

However, nowadays some people are incautious, after they break precepts and vows, they pretend and tell people that they have clairvoyance. I don’t believe them at all. If they talk lots of clairvoyance, they might say something correct by luck—just as it has been said, “When you drink sour drink, your body is going to shiver.” But there is another saying: “The authentic can stand trial, like a long valley; the fake wil quickly be revealed, like the tail of a mouse.” Meaning, if it is authentic it can be proved with time; if it is fake it will soon be uncovered.

Therefore it is a first failure if you pretend to have clairvoyance and tell lies to people, it is a second failure if you pretend to be able to reveal hidden treasures, and it is a third failure if you pretend to have attained accomplishments. If you want to attain the status of a tulku, no matter that people say you are a tulku or not, as long as you can uphold pure precepts, everyone including celestial beings will regard you as a tulku and venerate you as a merit field. However, if you do not maintain your precepts, even if you have a silver tongue it won’t help. Idling without any accomplishment is just a cause for degeneration.

Young tulkus should always be cautious; it is completely up to you whether you want to be a noble person or an inferior one. What is absolutely going to drag you gurus and tulkus down? Young women! They are truly the genuine enemies of young monks. Girls can throw you guys down into inferior places, so you must be careful.’

Source: Phuntsok, Jikmé. (2019). Always Remembering: Hearfelt Advice for Your Entire Life (Khenpo Sodargye, Trans.). Somerville: Wisdom. (pp. 137-138).

About the author

Rob Hogendoorn

Investigative reporter and academic researcher Rob Hogendoorn (b. 1964) began researching the reception of Buddhism in Western society and culture in the early 1990s. His modus operandi remained the same ever since: independent, inquisitive and provocative.