Category Archives: Animal spirits

The Tulku Test

The Tulku tradition comes from Tibetan Buddhism.  The Tulku, most often a young child, is considered to be the reincarnation of a previously self-actualised and revered person – a ‘holy man’ within the Buddhist tradition. The logic behind the system is that an accomplished being reincarnates as a Tulku to continue the dissemination of knowledge from his previous lives.  As an accomplished being he is able to access experiences from previous lives, which are retained in his ‘mindstream’

We ordinary mortals are considered to be unable to access information from past lives because we are stuck in the cycle of rebirth according to the karma of our unenlightened lives.  Hindus get multiple rides the wheel of birth, death and rebirth too. But if you are a Christian, Jew or Muslim you only get one go, before getting ‘judged’ and summarily dispatched to eternal heaven or hell.  All religions have nicely constructed control mechanisms to make us follow a set of rules with the promise of reward or retribution after death. If there was no ‘after life’ of any kind they would have had to invent it, because there is no evidence of a consistent reward system for good behaviour or punishment for the horrors that many humans inflict on each other and other living creatures every day.

However, the tulku test provides some evidence of reincarnation. This is one description of how a tulku is identified:

“The identification of a tulku was portrayed in the film Kundun, where monks disguised as peasants arrived at the future Dalai Lama’s home when he was a child of three years old. The monks were following clues provided by the thirteenth Dalai Lama — dreams, or information provided by oracles to find candidate children. Once children are identified they are examined for special marks or signs and their parents interviewed in regards to their moral character. Finally, a test is provided where the young child must identify items that belonged to his predecessor, picking them out from similar items. If he can do this correctly, he will be designated a tulku.”

The Quest for the Dalai Lama by Arnie Kozak, Ph.D.

For hundreds of years tulkus were always Tibetan, but since the 1970s they have been showing up on the west. According to Andrew Rawlinson, a former lecturer in Buddhist Studies at Lancaster University in the UK, writing in Global Buddhism  there are now about a dozen fully recognised western tulkus. One result of this expansion is that what goes on in the monastery no longer remains in the monastery and credible accounts of sexual abuse and corruption are emerging from Buddhist citadels, just as they are from other religions. See Kalu Rinpoche’s story here:

What if there are many tulkus in the world, but we just haven’t known to look for them or recognise the signs? I don’t think the Buddhists have any monopoly on tulkus or reincarnation. We are all animals on this planet after all. Our puppy Tulku, also passed the tulku test. His predecessor Dexter, an enlightened master for sure, guided us to him when he was less than three weeks old and even gave us his name. Dexter didn’t have any possessions, being a dog, but on the first day after we brought him home, when he was 6 ½ weeks old, Tulku ran straight over to Dexter’s grave, grabbed a pebble and brought it to me and dropped it at my feet. A couple of weeks ago, Izzy lost her collar playing out in the food forest. I went went out there with Izzy, Riley and Tulku to look for it and I said to Riley, “Go find Izzy’s collar.” Riley started looking around, but she didn’t know what she was looking for and barely was the though formed in my head, “If Dexter was here……..” because Dexter was the finder. He would find lost balls on the common, lost keys, even lost souls it turned out.  And then Tulku ran up with the collar in his mouth.

But I was still grappling with the issue of how could Tulku here now be Dexter reincarnated, while I am still talking to the Dexter who was here? I asked Dexter to answer this question for me and he came up with the answer, “We all have doubles.”  I’ll be exploring that issue in a later post.


Horse Spirit

Today was a non-ordinary day.  I couldn’t get to sleep at all last night; I felt tired, but when I went to bed I wasn’t and laid for hours thinking and receiving.  Not stressing, just lots going on.  This morning I looked online for information about solar flares and there were several M class and one X class flares last night and today.  I experience these as they happen, as though my senses are heightened and more reality is perceivable, not just when the radiation reaches our atmosphere.  I’m sure this is the case for many other people.

Around mid-morning I started to update this blog.  The first post I wrote was about Entities and Grief and as I wrote the word “wagtail” a robin flew in the open cabin door. That’s never happened before, a bit unusual but possibly just a coincidence.  I finished that post and as I started to write this one and put together the slideshow with the photos of Oscuria a second bird, a wren this time, flew in the cabin.  She came right up to the desk where I’m sitting and then flew out the door.  What is happening with the birds today?

I was in a slightly heightened state, but there were things to get on with.  Around 2.30pm we sat down to lunch, when a car came up the track and Oscuria’s owner, Luis, got out and asked to see me.  He wanted to know if I could help his brother who has been depressed, paranoid and weighed down with grief and sadness for the past 10 years and he thought it was some bad energy.  What are the chances of that?  Especially given the experience I’d just had with Entities and Grief.  This is how the Dog Shaman works, working with the animals (and plants)  to bring the pieces together so they can be healed.  Luis said he would bring his brother by.

This  adventure began one morning in early June of this year.  We were walking back to the cabin when Dexter went on alert and headed to the woods next to our field.  He would not come back, which was usually only the case if he’d caught a whiff of a bitch in season, but this was a different kind of alert.  I went back after him and just as I got to him a horse walked out of the woods.

Dexter had a thing about horses. We used to walk sometimes on Wimbledon Common in London and we had to stop because he thought it was the greatest fun to chase the horses, but we didn’t think their riders would find it so amusing. We’d rented a holiday cottage in Cornwall before we left the UK and there was a horse in the field next door.  Dexter and the horse had the greatest game, as the horse would come up to the fence and whinny and snort at Dexter who would then chase it and the horse would run – but there was a fence between them and that morning there was no fence!

I grabbed Dexter and Dean grabbed Riley and we headed for the cabin, across the field and through the woods, but the horse just followed us.  She was very beautiful and well looked after and she followed us all the way home and wouldn’t leave.  Dexter was beside himself was excitement, Riley was scared and Izzie just barked and barked and the horse was as calm as anything.  She waited patiently outside the gate.

Dean thought he’d better go and ask around and see if anyone had lost a horse.  We had never seen a horse in the neighbourhood before.  He drove off and suddenly I started to feel really uneasy and tried to call him back, but he didn’t hear.  I tried to phone him, but no signal.  I was worried that the horse had tried to escape because she was unhappy and Dean was going to let her owners know where she was and she might not want that.  As it happened, Dean was just having a very unsettling experience with neighbours a kilometre away who seemed to be straight out of the Texas chainsaw massacre.  They had dogs chained up by wrecked cars and piles of junk machinery and when he asked them whether they’d lost a horse the guy came up to the car and made a throat cutting sign across his neck and told Dean, “Muertos porcos, seis.”  He checked his fingers to see if he was holding up the right number and said, “Chorizo muy rico.”  Dean got out of there and came straight home, but the dogs really bothered him.  That’s the only thing we don’t like around here, the way some people treat animals and dogs in particular.

We decided to have a chat with the horse and ask her what she wanted. She told us quite clearly she wanted something, nodding her head up and down vigorously when we asked, but we couldn’t figure out what it was.  She was so careful, standing outside the fence in the vegetable patch, but she never disturbed a thing.

A couple of hours later a guy came walking up the track looking for her.  He introduced himself as Luis and said that Oscuria had run away from his brothers place in the nearest village.  He didn’t say why she ran away, but she seemed happy to see him and they went off together.  Later he came back and brought us the hugest lettuces ever from his brother’s garden.

The next day, Marcos the barman told us that Luis had sold the horse to a man in Monforte because he couldn’t afford to keep her.  We wondered whether that was why she had come to us, because she didn’t want to go to Monforte, but Goddess knows we didn’t want a horse.  I liked the idea of going for nice rides through the countryside, but fencing in a field would be a huge expense and we really don’t want to own a horse. We worried about her for a while, but she communicated telepathically that she was fine.  Somehow we knew that we would see her again.

Today Luis asked me if I rode.  I used to, but I haven’t in many years.  Apparently he didn’t sell her and she is still at his brother’s place just up the track and he said I could ride her whenever I wanted.  I like the idea, but mostly I like the idea of seeing her again and working together in the invisible world.

Unusual encounters with animals are a signal to pay attention.  It’s as though we are suddenly tripped into a different reality in which life feels like a dream.  Which it is, of course!