Sat, Jun 16, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Man on course to receive a doctoral degree in Buddhism

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

A Taiwanese man, who two years ago was recognized as a living, reincarnated Buddha and given the holy title of The Third Tulku Palme Khyentse, is expected to receive the nation's first doctorate in Buddhism next month.

Huang Ying-chieh (黃英傑), or the Third Tulku Palme Khyentse from the Palme Monastery of Qinghai Province, is scheduled to defend his doctoral thesis -- an analysis and survey on Buddhism's middle way -- at Huafan University on July 20.

If Huang passes the oral test by a panel of seven academics, Huang will be awarded the first Buddhism doctorate from a Taiwanese institute, five years after the Ministry of Education permitted local colleges to open departments of religion.

Huang, 40, holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from Fujen University. He has spent most of his time during the past 10 years studying Tibetan Buddhism, shuttling between Huafan University's Graduate Institute of Asian Studies and the International Buddhism Institute in Nepal.

In 1997, H.H. Sakya Trizin, head of the Sakya Monastery in Qinghai, met Huang during his first-ever visit to Taiwan. The leader of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism thought that Huang could be a reincarnated living Buddha, but did not say so at the time.

During Huang's visits to Nepal, India and Singapore over the ensuing years, Sakya Trizin met him "accidentally," and was further impressed with Huang.

Sakya Trizin submitted a proposal to H.H. Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, head of the Drikung school of Tibetan Buddhism, in 2004, saying Huang was likely to be the third reincarnation of Palme Khyentse, the leader of the Palme school.

It took a year for Drikung Chetsang to recognize Huang. The verification process included dreams, special feelings and written records handed down from the Second Chetsang Drikung, saying that the Third Tulku Palme Khyentse might be a "Han Chinese."

H.H. Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche traveled to Taiwan in person in 2005 to ratify Huang as the Third Tulku Palme Khyentse. The Tibetan word tulku means "reincarnated one."

Huang said he didn't know why he was chosen. All he knew is that he has found Buddhism to be as important as his life since he was first exposed to it.

Huang's grandfather was a renowned calligrapher who worked for most of the major Buddhist temples and monasteries in Taiwan.

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