An excited Buddhist world is keenly awaiting the discovery of the Indian saint-leader, Kushok Bakula, who passed away this month three years ago. He was the head lama of the awesome Spituk monastery in Ladakh.
Several functions were held in the Capital recently for prayers for the early rebirth of the Kushok. Sonam Wangchuk, the Kushok's secretary for most of his life, said the Kushok, one of the incarnates of the Buddha's 16 Arhats (contemporary enlightened souls), would be reborn most probably in Ladakh, and that the Dalai Lama too had held special prayers for his advent.
When I visited Leh recently the monks were, excited over 'rumours' that the Arhat's incarnate was probably already born and discovered, but that had been kept a secret to let the lama grow up undisturbed. Several claimants (parents and relatives) have already emerged and they have approached the 'regents' with their discovery of the baby Kushok.
He is worshipped like a god in Ladakh, Mongolia and some other parts of the world. I saw an aged woman prostrating before a 15-ft Buddha statue in Likir village, 65 km from Leh, and praying for Bakula's early rebirth so that she could have a 'darshan' of the Arhat before bidding farewell to this world. Experts closely associated with the Kushok hoped that the sage "would appear soon to resume his work of making this planet more worthy of living in".
|Kushok Bakula's reincarnation is eagerly awaited|
Books and films on the life and times of the lama were released amidst chanting of Buddhist hymns. A film depicted the lama's role in the revival of Buddhism in Mongolia. Bakula was India's ambassador there for a record 11 years. Before that, he was involved in the "politics of enlightenment" in Jammu & Kashmir and at the Centre. It was Nehru who spotted him as a child who "could represent the then forgotten Buddhist world in India".
An incarnate is found by following oracles, clues left by the deceased and by closely examining the baby Incarnates are said to be able to recollect their past lives accurately.