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Continuing the story introduced in Part 1, here is what I found out about Guru Rinpoche and his various reincarnations.  But first, let’s see what anagrams are concealed in his name.

My favourite website for exploring anagrams is the free online Anagram Solver site.  If you enter Rinpoche into the search window, the site throws up the following six alternative rearrangements of the eight letters: Nicephor, Pechorin, Perchino, Rinpoche, Rocephin, and Ron Piche.  I googled each of these alternatives and, with the exception of Rocephin which is a trade name for the antibiotic drug ceftriaxone, I discovered a hidden reincarnation line.  Let’s start with Pechorin.

The Pechorin reincarnation line.

Pechorin and Princess Mary, illustration from the book, Hero of Our Time
By V. A. Polyakov – http://www.mrsgonzo.ru/2013/05/blog-post_24.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31447307

This is potentially the most interesting line as Pechorin is a fictional character, not a past or present human or animal.  Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin is the main protagonist in the novel, Hero of Our Time, written by the Russian poet, writer and painter, Mikhail Lermontov, and published in 1840.  According to the Wikipedia article about this book,

Pechorin is a character of contradiction. He is both sensitive and cynical. He is possessed of extreme arrogance, yet has a deep insight into his own character and epitomizes the melancholy of the romantic hero who broods on the futility of existence and the certainty of death. Pechorin’s whole philosophy concerning existence is oriented towards the nihilistic, creating in him somewhat of a distanced, alienated personality.

Hmm, a complex character who, seemingly, has inherited some of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche listed earlier in Part 1 and reproduced here:

  • mastery of sexual techniques,
  • conformance to a Buddhist lifestyle,
  • ability to behave in a princely/kingly way,
  • exponent of dharma (how to lead a good life),
  • ability to acquire and make wise use of knowledge,
  • practitioner of yogi (spiritual insight through ascetism),
  • fierce conqueror of problems,
  • and warrior.

Poster for Pechorin, the 2011 movie

It does beg the question however; can a fictional character be a reincarnation of a real person?  I would argue yes, why not?  If the fictional character appears to embody some of the same beliefs, characteristics and behaviour of the original person and, furthermore, has a name that is an anagram of the original person’s name then, yes.  In addition, Pechorin has been bought to life in the form of an actor, Stanislav Ryadinskiy, who played Pechorin in the 2011 Russian movie, Pechorin, based on Lermontov’s book.  Now, I’m not claiming that Ryadinskiy is a secondary reincarnation of Rinpoche but the very fact that Lermontov’s character has been bought to life, so to speak, is an additional indication that Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin is a reincarnation of Rinpoche, albeit a fictional one. I will leave the scholars among you to refute or concur my assertion that Pechorin the hero is a reincarnation of Rinpoche the guru.

Incidentally, I also came across Zhe Pechorin, a Serbian musical artist currently living in Belgrade and I wondered if she was a human continuation of the Pechorin line of reincarnations but, alas, not so.  Zhe Pechorin is not her real name.  It’s an alias for Andjelina Micic.  Aliases don’t count as evidence of reincarnation – period.

The Perchino reincarnation line

Now here we come to another interesting line of reincarnations, this time into the animal kingdom. Some students of reincarnation argue that every time a karma is reincarnated, it moves down from the topmost god level (if that is where it originated) to, first, into a human form and subsequently a lower order of the animalia kingdom.  I’ve even heard it said that we’ll all finish up as worms (attributed to Aldous Huxley in his review of a book on Hinduism). Be that as it may; there is a line of reincarnation that moves from the human animal to a lower animal and Rinpoche is no exception.  In its anagramic form of Perchino, Rinpoche has emerged first as a champion borzoi dog and second as a failed racehorse.

Russian borzoi dog breed, copyright unknown

Golub Perchino, born circa 1890, was a borzoi dog (Russian wolfhound) owned by Grand Duke Nikolai (Knyaz) Nikolaevich, 1856 – 1929, who was a Russian nobleman and general renowned for his hunting activities.  Prior to his involvement in WW1, he travelled all over Russia in a private train transporting his borzoi hunting dogs and specially-trained horses and is reputed to have caught and killed hundreds of wolves.  Golub Perchino was among the Grand Duke’s borzoi pack and clearly emulated at least three of Guru Rinpoche’s manifestations: association with royalty, fierce conqueror of problems (in this case, ravaging wolves), and a warrior.  Golub also went on to sire further borzois thus echoing yet another Rinpoche manifestation – mastery of sexual techniques.

I can find no photograph of Perchino the racehorse.

More recently, Rinpoche surfaced again as a racehorse in the late 1990s.  Perchino, a thoroughbred bay gelding racehorse, was born in Australia in 1998 and had a rather dismal career as a racehorse with no wins and no places according to gg.co.uk (nice domain name!).  Which just goes to show; not all reincarnations make a name for themselves.

Note: you will also find a line of humans with Perchino as a surname: John Perchino, born circa 1838, California; Rita Perchino, born 1933, New Jersey; Art Perchino, born circa 1945; and a few others.  I do not believe these people to be reincarnations of Guru Rinpoche.  I think they are just coincidences.  Now, if Al Pacino had been born Al Perchino, that would have been worthy of further investigation.

The Ron Piché reincarnation line

Ron Piché, baseball player and volunteer firefighter

Ah, now this line is unique in that there has only ever been one Ron Piché of note: Ron Piché, note the acute accent (allowable in anagrams), born in 1935, became a professional Canadian baseball player. He died in 2011.  During his baseball-playing career, he played for three different teams: Milwaukee Braves (1960–1963), Los Angeles Angels (1965), and St. Louis Cardinals (1966) and was famed as a pitcher (the guy who stands on the mound and throws the ball to the guy with the baseball bat) but, unfortunately, Ron Piché didn’t quite make the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  He did, however, play with eight other players who made the NBHF grade so he achieved fame by association.  But clearly his pitching expertise together with his knowledge of the game, fierce conqueror of problems, and warrior-like behaviour on the pitch qualifies him as, so far, the only Ron Piché reincarnation of Guru Rinpoche.

Incidentally, after he retired, Ron Piché moved to Montreal and joined the Montreal Auxiliary Firefighters; clearly a nod to the original Rinpoche’s philanthropic tendencies.

The Nicephor reincarnation line

Sylvie Nicephor, from her Facebook page

This reincarnation line has only just started and, so far, is exclusively French.   Sylvie Nicephor is a French pianist and soprano singer born in 1964 and currently living in Paris.  Her career is progressing smoothly with various performances throughout 2018 and 2019 in France and Italy.  Her skills at music echo the dharma qualities, knowledge and yogi talents of Rinpoche and mark her out as a worthy reincarnated successor to the guru.

Albin Nicephor, from his Facebook page

Also on the artistic side is Albin Nicephor, a French photographer born circa 1991 and based in Lille.  I can find very little about this person and he might be a reincarnation red herring or he might be a budding reincarnation.  If the latter, he will be an example of a parallel reincarnation i.e. one who is alive at the same time as another (Sylvie Nicephor).  Only time will tell.

The Rinpoche reincarnation line

Sogyal Rinpoche, Tibetan lama
By Lotsawa108 – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7263448

Finally, we come to the pièce de résistance, a Rinpoche reincarnation who carries the same name as the original.  Say hello to Sogyal Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama (a Buddhist monk who has achieved the highest level of spiritual development) of the Nyingma order, the ‘old order’ founded by Guru Rinpoche way back in the 9th century.  Sogyal Rinpoche, born in 1947, has had an illustrious high-profile career including the founding of Rigpa, an international Buddhist organisation with centres and groups in 41 countries, and author of a best-selling 1992 book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, with currently two million copies sold.  Sadly, the public beatific face of Sogyal Rinpoche may not be compatible with his private face.  He has been accused by many current and ex-members of Rigpa of sexual and psychological abuse and in 2017, he ‘retired’ from his spiritual directorship of Rigpa.  Even the Dalai Lama has withdrawn his friendship and said that Sogyal Rinpoche is disgraced.

I don’t wish to comment on the various accusations levied at Sogyal Rinpoche other than to point out the similarities with Guru Rinpoche – his enjoyment of consorts, manifestation of sexual techniques (if the allegations are proved) and, of course, adherence to the tenets of Nyingma Buddhism.  Sogyal Rinpoche reminds me of another ‘holy man’ who is alleged to have abused his position as a spiritual leader – Sathya Sai Baba (1926 – 2011), described as India’s revered spiritual guru and subsequently alleged to be an abuser of young boys, a fraud, someone who lived a lavish lifestyle, money launderer, and all-round con man.  You can read about Sai Baba either here or in my book on religion.

If indeed Sogyal Rinpoche is a reincarnation of Guru Rinpoche, as seems likely, then so the reincarnation loop is closed.  Through the power of anagrams, I have shown that various lines of reincarnation exist – the fictional line, the lower-order animal line, the unique line, the parallel line, and finally the direct line.  Anagrams reveal the hidden lines, the mysteries, and the truth of reincarnation. So now, my 2001 scepticism about reincarnation is removed and my conversion to Theravada Buddhism is complete, or will be if I stop eating meat.  All that remains is for me to consider in what form I wish to be reincarnated when my bodily host packs up, and then to work my karmas to achieve my ambition.

Or maybe I’ll just come back as a worm and be done with it.  At least, I’ll make some bird happy!

Postscript.  Just out of curiosity, I entered my surname, Bennetts, into the anagram solver website.  It threw up St. Bennet.  Oh dear.  It turns out that St. Bennet is the medieval English name for St. Benedict of Nursia (480 – 547 AD), who is considered to be the founder of western monasticism, a religious way of life in which worldly goods and pursuits are shunned in favour of spiritual enlightenment.  Sometimes, the hidden lines of reincarnation should stay hidden!

St. Bennet (aka San Benito, St. Benedict of Nursia), Jalisco, Mexico
By Nheyob – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38908485