For the young American Buddhist lama, it is faith, school, football – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather


COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minnesota (AP) – In many ways Jaue Dorje is a typical American teenager – he grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, loving soccer, Pokemon, and rap music.

Yet in a few years, he hopes to say goodbye to his family and his homeland and join a monastery at the foot of the Himalayas. From an early age, he was recognized by the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist leaders as a reincarnated Lama.

Since this recognition, he has spent much of his life training to be a monk, memorizing sacred scriptures (often rewarded by his father with Pokémon cards), practicing calligraphy, and learning the teachings of Buddha.

He is now 14 and entering his first year of high school. After graduating in 2025, he will travel to northern India to join Mindrolling Monastery, more than 11,500 kilometers from his home in Columbia Heights.

After a period of contemplation and asceticism, he hopes to return to America to teach in the Buddhist community in Minnesota. His goal? “Become a leader of peace,” he said. “Like the Dalai Lama or Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.”

On a recent day, he sang ancient prayers for hours with his father and other monks who gathered in a prayer room in the family home to ring bells, beat drums and blow conch shells near an altar decorated with offerings of fruits, flowers and the Torma ritual. Cakes.

The annual ceremony, which was suspended last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, honors Guru Rinpoche, the Indian Buddhist master who brought Tantric Buddhism to Tibet. For two days this year, the group prayed for the victims of natural disasters, war and COVID-19, as well as for the peace and happiness of sentient beings around the world.

During a break, Jalue sat for lunch in the courtyard in the summer sun, by far the youngest among the monks, then went upstairs in his brown and gold robes to play the video game. NBA 2K against Delek Topgyal, his 13 years old. old cousin and best friend.

The young llama would lose with Team Kyrie Irving and later explain that Team Lebron James “is virtually unbeatable”.

The process of identifying a llama is based on spiritual signs and visions. Jalue was around 4 months old when he was identified by Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, a revered master of Tibetan Buddhism who was the head of the Nyingma lineage. He was later confirmed by several other lamas as the eighth Terchen Taksham Rinpoche – the first of whom was born as Taksham Nüden Dorje in 1655.

After the Dalai Lama also recognized him at the age of 2 as the reincarnation of the guru, Jalue’s parents took him to meet the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism during his visit to Wisconsin in 2010. The Dalai Lama cut a lock of Jalue’s hair in a ceremony. He also advised parents to let their son stay in the United States so that he could perfect his English, and then send him to a monastery when he was 10 years old.

Jalue is now fluent in English and Tibetan and often gets A’s in class. Although he was officially inducted in a ceremony in India in 2019, he still lives in Columbia Heights, where his parents decided he would stay until he graduated.

“Watching him grow up to his teenage years is a lot to take into account because he is a Buddhist master, and at the same time, he is also a normal person,” said his uncle, Tashi Lama. “We see both sides of it. “

In Jalue’s bedroom, a photo of the Dalai Lama sits above the “The Simpsons”, “Family Guy” and “South Park” DVD collections, next to the Buddha volumes. It is a series of graphic novels by Osamu Tezuka, a master of Japanese comics known as manga.

On his bedside table, Jalue keeps a diary where he diagrams the football strategies he would like to try out on the pitch playing as a defensive tackle and offensive guard with his school team.

He enjoys sports, especially the Atlanta teams.

“You’ll always see me outside with this hat on,” he said of his favorite Falcons cap. “Unless I’m wearing my dresses.” Would it be easier if he was just an ordinary teenager? “Nothing like that occurs to me,” he laughs. “It’s always been religion first.”

Growing up, he had an agreement with his father, who would give him the Pokémon cards in exchange for memorizing the Buddhist scriptures. He collected hundreds of them and sometimes slipped them into his dresses during ceremonies.

Every morning he wakes up to recite sacred texts. He then attended school, then trained in football, and returned home to give private lessons on Tibetan history and Buddhism. Late at night, he could practice his calligraphy or run on a treadmill in the basement while listening to rappers like Drake and Polo G.

“He’s naturally very open-minded, and he’s also very genuinely interested in the world. … He doesn’t have these preconceptions about who he is, ”said Kate Thomas, one of his tutors and teachings coordinator at the Bodhicitta Sangha Heart of Enlightenment Institute in Minneapolis.

“He knows he’s Tibetan. He also knows he’s American, ”Thomas said. “But like the young people of today, he is also a citizen of the world. And he started like that because of his age, his generation.


Associated Press video reporter Jessie Wardarski contributed to this report.


The Associated Press religious coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment via The Conversation US. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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