A tulku is a reincarnate custodian of a specific lineage of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism who is given empowerments and trained from a young age by students of his or her predecessor.
Historically, the tulku system of preserving Dharma lineages operated in Tibet with the first being the Karmapas.
After the first Karmapa died in 1193, a lama had recurrent visions of a particular child as his rebirth.
This child (born ca. 1205) was recognized as .