by | Sep 5, 2020 | Clear Light

People ask me about being a “Reincarnation”. They want to know what it means to me since I am a supposed, “Reincarnation.”

First of all, we are all reincarnations. We have been reborn in the cycle of life and death forever. I mean, I do not know if you can measure it, but, in the Dharma, they relate to all sentient beings as your mother.  They use the expression, “All mother sentient beings.” That is a very well known phrase in Dharma.

The reason they mention the “Mother,” is because the love of the mother for her children is unconditional. So, because we have been living and being reborn and dying for so long, we have been each other’s mother numerous times, already. That means any bug, even an ant or a mosquito, or an animal or a human, whoever it is, at one point in time, was your mother.  At one point in time, you were their mother. That is what Dharma is saying with the expression, “All mother sentient beings.”

So, by saying that, you can relate to that unconditional love for everybody. Up to there, it makes sense, right? Do you follow that?

So, we are all reincarnations. The question is whether we know it or not.

In my case, in my life, I grew up within that kind of, “Bubble”, let us say. So, it was like a normal thing for me until I became much older. Then, I was like, “Wow, this is weird!” It was only later when I left the monastery after I was 18 that I tried to relate, you know, to that concept. Then, I was like, “That is very strange”.  However, until I left and I was on my own, it was a normal thing.  It was just part of my life. That is who I was.

So, yes, I mean, I think, in life, our perspective is changing a lot.  You know.  This is because we are changing, as well.  Then, of course, naturally, our point of view of life changes, also.

In the same way, we, also, change the body. You know. We are here… Earth is like a school. Earth is a library. We are here to learn. There is a process that we have to go through to reach that understanding of who it is that goes through to the next process.

So it is just a process. It is not a big deal, “Oh, reincarnation!” No. Everybody is reincarnated. It is not a big deal.

In Lama Yeshe’s past life, he was a nun. He was a nun abbess.  He was an abbess of a nunnery. That was Lama Yeshe’s past life. Lama Yeshe, for example, never got his geshe degree.   What that means is he never got his doctorate.

Normally, a recognized reincarnation, a “Tulku,” is based on the previous incarnation having been a high lama.  Like,  if you are an abbot or if you are a geshe, or if you were highly recognized in your last life, then, you will be sought after and recognized in your next life as a “Reincarnated Lama,” or, “Tulku,” or, “Rimpoche”. 

Mainly, they only recognized me as a reincarnation because of Lama Yeshe’s disciples.  It was because of all the Western disciples Lama had. It was because of the organization that Lama had founded and built. So, based on that, as the reincarnation, I had a little bit of weight. However, it is just conceptual. You know what I mean. I would not put so much importance on being a reincarnated lama, at least, in my case. The importance should be on the benefit someone offers the world.

It has been a challenge. It has been a challenge to be able to differentiate who I am from what people project on me and expect me to be. That has been a huge challenge, which I am still working on today.

The main point is we are all reincarnations.  It is not a big deal.  The big deal is the benefit you bring to the world.


  1. Tom Mutton

    Do I believe in reincarnation?
    Now there is a rabbit hole, but if there is I’m sure Lama Yeshe would still be challenging us with his crazy wisdom and telling us to check it out for ourselves.
    But his love still shines bright welcoming and asking us to love all beings and to remember all are doing the best they can that the great understanding of The Buddha was that we can choose who we want to be now and in the future and we are not defined by our past.

    • Brian Hart

      Firstly to say I ACCEPT reincarnation as the optimum reason for being in a body with a mind on this planet.

      Believe is such a weak verb isn’t it?

      If not reincarnation then what ?

      Option A) One life-death-end-nothing – the corollary to this would imply nearly 8billion human beings on earth currently all having their first life….all those who died previously ended permanently (could be in the almost trillions)

      B) one life – death – heaven or hell- forever more.

      C) one life – death random toss of the dice rebirth with no reference to past actions

      D) one life – death – creator being or superpower “decides ” something remotely related to a being like me should take another body and bingo – back again.

      Multiple choice select one from above. Or take reincarnation like a leaf on the wind.😂

  2. John Carroll

    Believing or not believing in reincarnation….or having that issue to deal with, would seem to be an impediment to the sense of flow or rhythm to one’s practice.

    When developing devotion, we look to maintain our connection to our teacher far into the future…even after ( to be truly low key) our own enlightenment.

    Reincarnation is logical. It is a round peg going through a round hole when working on developing devotion, wisdom and bodhicitta.

  3. Andy Wistreich

    I just want to comment on the photo. If I had been recognised as the reincarnation of that cool dude, I would feel pretty good, and be happy to continue the line of attitude and confrontation with the expectations of the establishment, that this photo signifies (at least to me). Keep it up Osel-la – it’s a great act to follow, and you are living up to all hopes and expectations (well, mine anyway). Keep on keeping on, as John Lennon said.

  4. Rosalyn Williams

    Well I enjoyed reading the main topic and all the thoughtful comments.
    My thoughts are that the disparity between who I am and from birth what others project on to me and expect me to be must be greater if you are a recognised incarnation .
    And if looked at going in the other direction if you were the family scapegoat and everyone in the family somehow put the blame on you how difficult would it be to regain ones own self worth.
    Without a doubt we are responsible for our own actions so we have to be given a choice and not rushed here and there by others. It is easier to ask someone to do something than take responsibility yourself. From what I can see Lama Osel you are your own man and I admire that.
    I hope very much whatever you choose to do will be of great benefit to others directly
    or indirectly

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