n. In Tibetan Buddhism, a high-ranking lama who can choose the manner of his or her rebirth.
A tulku (, also tülku, trulku) is a custodian of a specific lineage of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism who is given empowerments and trained from a young age by students of his predecessor.
High-profile examples of tulkus include the Khyentses, the Kongtruls, the Dalai Lamas and the Karmapas.
Tulku is a children's historical novel by Peter Dickinson, published by Gollancz in 1979. Set in China and Tibet at the time of the Boxer Rebellion, it features a young teenage boy orphaned by the violence, who flees with others to a Buddhist monastery. Dickinson and Tulku won two major awards for British children's books, the Whitbread Children's Book Award and the Carnegie Medal. The Carnegie Medal from the Library Association then recognised the year's outstanding children's book by a British subject.
Dutton published a U.S. edition within the calendar year under its Unicorn imprint.
Tulku is a 2009 documentary film, written and directed by Gesar Mukpo. The film details the personal experiences of five young Western men who were identified in childhood as being tulkus, or reincarnated Tibetan Buddhist masters.
For over 700 years tulkus have been sought out as highly revered leaders and teachers of Tibetan Buddhism. Beginning in the 1970s, several tulkus have been identified as having incarnated in the West. These new, Western-born, very modern tulkus lead lives prone to culture clash and identity confusion.