September 28, 2021

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For US teenager Buddhist lama, it is faith, college, football

5 min read

By LUIS ANDRES HENAO

August 1, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. (AP) — In most ways, Jalue Dorje is a common American teen — he grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, loving football, Pokémon and rap songs.

Nonetheless a several years from now, he’s anticipating to say goodbye to his spouse and children and homeland and be a part of a monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas — from an early age, he was acknowledged by the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist leaders as a reincarnated lama.

Because that recognition, he’s invested a lot of his everyday living training to develop into a monk, memorizing sacred scriptures (often rewarded by his father with Pokémon cards), practising calligraphy and studying the teachings of Buddha.

Now he’s 14 and moving into his first calendar year of significant university. Soon after graduation in 2025, he’ll head to northern India to join the Mindrolling Monastery, additional than 7,200 miles (11,500 kilometers) from his residence in Columbia Heights.

Subsequent a interval of contemplation and ascetism, he hopes to return to The us to teach in the Minnesota Buddhist community. His intention? “To grow to be a leader of peace,” he mentioned. “Like the Dalai Lama or Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.”

On a modern working day, he chanted historic prayers for hrs with his father and other monks who gathered in a prayer space in the family’s residence to ring bells, bang drums and blow conch shells around an altar adorned with offerings of fruits, flowers and Torma ritual cakes.

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The annual ceremony, which was suspended very last yr for the reason that of the coronavirus pandemic, pays homage to Expert Rinpoche, the Indian Buddhist grasp who brought Tantric Buddhism to Tibet. Above two times this 12 months, the group prayed for victims of organic disasters, war and COVID-19, and for the peace and happiness of beings worldwide.

On a break, Jalue sat for lunch in the lawn underneath the summer time sunshine, the youngest by considerably between the monks, and then walked upstairs in his maroon and gold robes to participate in the NBA 2K video clip activity from Delek Topgyal, his 13-yr-old cousin and very best buddy.

The younger lama would drop with crew Kyrie Irving and later on describe that group Lebron James “is virtually unbeatable.”

The process of determining a lama is based mostly on religious indicators and visions. Jalue was about 4 months outdated when he was determined by Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, a honored learn of Tibetan Buddhism who was the leader of the Nyingma lineage. He was later confirmed by numerous other lamas as the eighth Terchen Taksham Rinpoche — the first a single of whom was born less than the name Taksham Nüden Dorje in 1655.

Just after the Dalai Lama also recognized him at age 2 as the guru’s reincarnation, Jalue’s moms and dads took him to meet the non secular chief of Tibetan Buddhism when he frequented Wisconsin in 2010. The Dalai Lama slash a lock of Jalue’s hair in a ceremony. He also recommended the dad and mom to let their son stay in the U.S. so he could great his English and then mail him to a monastery at age 10.

Jalue is now fluent in English and Tibetan and typically gets A’s in class. Whilst he was officially enthroned in a 2019 ceremony in India, he’s nonetheless living in Columbia Heights, where by his mothers and fathers determined he’ll continue to be right until graduation.

“Seeing him increasing up to a teenager is a whole lot of issues to just take in mainly because he’s a Buddhist grasp, and at the same time, he’s a typical human being as perfectly,” mentioned his uncle, Tashi Lama. “We get to see the two sides of it.”

In Jalue’s place, a photo of the Dalai Lama rests previously mentioned DVD collections of “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” and “South Park,” up coming to volumes of ″Buddha.” That is a graphic novel series by Osamu Tezuka, a grasp of the Japanese comic artwork form acknowledged as manga.

On his bedside desk, Jalue retains a journal exactly where he diagrams football methods that he’d like to try out on the field actively playing as a defensive deal with and offensive guard with his college staff.

He loves sports, specifically Atlanta groups.

“You’ll normally see me outside the house putting on this hat” he stated about his favorite Falcons cap. “Unless I’m wearing my robes.” Would it be easier if he was just a common teenager? “Nothing like that crosses my intellect,” he said, laughing. “It’s always been faith initially.”

Rising up he experienced a offer with his father, who would give him the Pokémon cards in return for committing Buddhist scriptures to memory. He gathered hundreds and would from time to time sneak them in his robes at ceremonies.

Every single morning he wakes up to recite sacred texts. He then attends faculty, followed by soccer follow, and returns residence for tutoring classes on Tibetan heritage and Buddhism. Late at evening he could possibly follow his calligraphy or operate on a treadmill in the basement while listening to rappers like Drake and Polo G.

“He’s normally quite open-minded, and he’s also very genuinely interested in the globe. … He doesn’t have these preconceived notions of who he is,” reported Kate Thomas, a person of his tutors and the teachings coordinator at Minneapolis’ Bodhicitta Sangha Heart of Enlightenment Institute.

“He appreciates he’s Tibetan. He also knows he’s American,” Thomas claimed. “But like the youth of now, he is a international citizen as effectively. And he began out that way because of to his age, his generation.”

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Involved Press video journalist Jessie Wardarski contributed to this report.

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Affiliated Press religion coverage receives assistance from the Lilly Endowment by way of The Conversation U.S. The AP is exclusively accountable for this material.

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