Tibetan Lama, 4, Journeys to Anaheim’s Magic Kingdom


Meditation and a seminar on life after death may be the most spiritually significant items on the agenda of 4-year-old Kalu Rinpoche during his first visit to Southern California, but Disneyland will probably be the most memorable.

Rinpoche, worshiped as the Tibetan Lama reincarnate, visited the amusement park Wednesday.

“Right now he’s only 4,” said Ngodup Burkhar, translator for the Tibetan entourage. “We don’t put him to work too much.”

The child can “sit on his throne and bless people like he’s done it all of his life.” But he can be “quite naughty at play too,” Burkhar said.


Wearing a yellow and red robe and standing just short of the 48-inch mark required to enter the Indiana Jones ride at the park, young Rinpoche was first denied an opportunity to enter the attraction, said David Lo, who accompanied the boy and an entourage that included his parents.

“But they saw that it was his first time here, and they let him go through,” Lo said.

Rinpoche said through an interpreter that the most exciting part of the ride was when “a big ball started coming toward the car.”

Said Lo of the most important meditation master in his lineage of Buddhism: “Now he wants to go see the movie.”

Rinpoche’s schedule for the weekend will be more religious in nature, Burkhar said. He will join other monks in three days of seminars and teachings at the Unitarian Community Church in Santa Monica, where he will bless followers by placing his hand on their heads.

Rinpoche was chosen by one of the eminent lineage holders in Tibet through a clairvoyant vision after the death of his predecessor, who went by the same name, Burkhar said. Rinpoche was 2 years old when he was discovered in India. He now lives in Tibet. His Disneyland trip was part of a world tour that will include San Francisco and Seattle, then cities in Brazil and Argentina.