Successive systems of reincarnation or tulku (sprul sku) are fascinating sources for the study of the social history of Tibet. The tulku, predicated on Buddhist metaphysics of rebirth, is a phenomena in which a person is recognized as embodying a previous person, in their own current body. This is technically referred to in Tibetan as one who is “recognized as having returned to existence” (yang srid ngos ‘dzin or sprul sku ngos ‘dzin).

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