Renegade Child Lama Denounces Buddhist Order

June 1, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Imagine being torn away from your family at the tender age of just 14-months and taken to a remote Buddhist monastery in India and placed on a throne to be worshipped like a god, as the reincarnation of a spiritual Lama. That’s what happened to now 24-year old Osel Hita Torres, formerly revered as Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche.

Osel Hita Torres freed himself from the severe all male monastic life and earned a degree in filmmaking from the University of Madrid. He now refers to himself as “Oz” and has completely renounced his former association with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition.

His “enthroned” life began when his parents, who previously studied under the deceased Lama Yeshe, were convinced their son was the reincarnation of Yeshe. The Dalai Lama himself, then formally recognized him as the reincarnated soul of Yeshe.

Called the “Boy Lama,” Torres was not allowed to watch television, movies, socialize with girls or play sports. He never went on a date or attended a high school prom. The only movie he was ever allowed to watch was, “The Golden Child” starring Eddie Murphy.

By the time Torres was 18, he still had never seen a couple share a kiss, never mind, experiencing such a normal intimate moment of his own.

“They took me away from my family and stuck me in a medieval situation in which I suffered a great deal,” said Torres. He felt like his whole life was one big lie.

His childhood and teenage years were stolen from him and now he is trying to make up for lost time. Torres, now more happily reincarnated into the avant-garde, partying “Oz,” recently performed at the wild Burning Man event, held every year in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada.

The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition still has high hopes that the rebellious Torres will someday take the place of the deceased Dalai Lama, but if I were the Tibetan Buddhists, I wouldn’t bet on it. Go Oz!



4 Responses to “Renegade Child Lama Denounces Buddhist Order”

  1. mike on June 2nd, 2009 1:15 pm

    I am currently in Spain and have read the original report in “El Mundo”.

    The article directly above states that Mr Torres “has completely renounced his former association with the Foundation..”, but that is not the impression I got from the “El Mundo” original. Mr Torres seems to have promised to his lama (Zopa) to one day return to the Buddhist fold.

    I am not certain on this point because my Spanish is not good, but since I have a keen interest in this subject I hope a complete English translation will be made available, or at least that people with more insight will comment here.

    We need more news like this. Westerners, disillusioned with “their own” religious institutions, often turn to Buddhism, thinking that it is purer and that its institutions are not corrupt. But Tibetan Buddhism has its own skeletons in the closet, past and present, and ironically, quite similar to the monstrosities committed by the Christian church(es).

    The main reason most Westerners have no clue is because the mainstream media deliberately hush up anti-Dalai news. But search beyond the Dalai Lama–Richard Gere glitz and you are likely to very soon discover absolutely appalling facts about Tibetan Buddhism.

  2. Neal J. King on June 2nd, 2009 2:58 pm

    I believe mike’s comment above is out of line. The Tibetan Buddhist traditions each have their own complex histories, but although I’ve studied them for decades, I haven’t come across any real “monstrosities” or “appalling facts”. Such stories are usually disinformation put out either by the PRC (who keep trying to discredit the Dalai Lama in order to suppress the concept of Tibetan culture and liberation) or by the “New Kadampa” folks, who have their own ax to grind. Neither could be considered a fair or disinterested party.

  3. La Islena on June 3rd, 2009 12:21 am

    By the way, Osel actually grew up with his Dad and brother Kunkyen (also a reincarnated tulku) around him. He was also allowed to visit his mother/siblings in Spain.

    Buddhists don’t worship “gods”… they merely revere “teachers” – those who have experience/success seeking Nirvana.

    The whole Osel story has been over-sensationalised by media without any understanding of Buddhism. Granted, some Tibetan Buddhist sects are secretive and whatnot, but they are essentially/fundamentally liberal and honour the wishes of individuals.

    From what I know of the issue, Lama Osel is simply wanting to experience “real life” before returning to his Buddhism studies, which, if you know anything about Lama Yeshe before him, you would recognise as something very-Lama-Yeshe.

  4. Samuel on June 18th, 2009 11:04 am

    Please note that Osel’s original interview was posted in “Babylon” a student magazine based in Madrid:
    See page 56 for the interview, in both Spanish and English.

    El Mundo, a Catholic newspaper, then published a distorted version to please its own readership, as you might expect. To get the correct presentation of how Osel wished his interview to be published, see page 56 in Babylon.

    There is a hopefully balanced account of Osel’s background and the latest news in my study group’s blogspot on this subject “Latest News of Osel Hita Torres” here:

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