Elijah Ary: The First Western Geluk Tulku
Elijah Ary was the first Westerner to be recognized as the tulku (reincarnation) of a Tibetan lama in the Geluk tradition. In this episode, Elijah discusses the process of his being recognized as a tulku, the impact this has had on his life, and what he imagines his role to be in the dialogue between East and West.
About the Interviewee
Elijah Sacvan Ary was born in Vancouver, Canada. In 1979, at age seven, he was recognized as the reincarnation, or tulku, of a Tibetan scholar and spent his teenage years as a monk at Sera Monastery in South India. He went on to study at the University of Quebec in Montreal and the National Institute for Eastern Languages and Civilizations (Inalco) in Paris, and he earned his PhD in the study of religion from Harvard University. His writings have appeared in the books Little Buddhas: Children and Childhoods in Buddhist Texts and Traditions, Oxford Bibliographies Online: Buddhism, Contemporary Visions in Tibetan Studies, and Blue Jean Buddha: Voices of Young Buddhists. He Lives in Paris with his wife and teaches Buddhism and Tibetan religious history at several institutions.