The StarTribune used this teaser headline on the homepage of their website yesterday:
4-year-old believed to be first Minnesota-born lama-reincarnate
The actual headline and by-line for the front-page story: The little lama from Columbia Heights – "Tibetan Buddhists see the extraordinary in this Columbia Heights boy — a reincarnated guru."
Jalue Dorjee, you see, is believed to be no ordinary boy. According to the highest authorities of the Tibetan Buddhist order, he is the reincarnation of the speech, mind and body of a lama, or spiritual guru, who died in Switzerland six years ago. Jalue is said to be the eighth appearance of the original lama, born in 1655.
There’s a lot to like about Buddhism, just like other religions, but a human-interest story based on goofy literal beliefs about reincarnation should not be given front-page treatment but relegated to the Variety or a local section, just like the newspaper did with its story a year ago, A little chapel in Wisconsin draws pilgrims seeking Mary. Likewise, this article published in July: Communion wafer turns red in S. St. Paul — is it miraculous?
In five more years, I hope to see a follow-up article about Jalue Dorjee with a headline like:
Columbia Heights family to ship their 10-year old to study in a monastery in India – is this good parenting?