The word "tulku" in Tibetan is translated as "Living Buddha." It refers to enlightened cultivators who have chosen to return to the world. Enlightened cultivators are beings who have "realised the mind, seen the Buddha nature and attained self-mastery over life and death." In principle, tulkus are incarnations of the buddhas, bodhisattvas, arhats, or sravakas who have returned to the world to deliver sentient beings. However, once they are incarnated as human beings, they have to start the process of cultivation all over again. Tulkus who have undergone rigorous training and have once again achieved the state of "realising the mind, seeing the Buddha nature and attaining self-mastery over life and death" are considered to be genuine Living Buddhas.
Living Buddha Lian-sheng is a tulku because he is the incarnation of White Mahapadmakumara. Moreover, he has received the essence of Vajrayana from Padmasambhava in a series of pure visions. His profound realisation in Vajrayana Buddhism have led many Tibetan rinpoches to seek refuge in him. Therefore, he is regarded as the Great Tulku among tulkus.
Tibetan rinpoches and exoteric Buddhist masters such as Reverend Daxiong, Huisong of Fo Guang Shan (Buddha Light Mountain), Yuanheng Temple's Reverend Shi Huida, and Reverend Shi Jiguang have taken refuge in Living Buddha Lian-sheng.
Living Buddha Lian-sheng dharma power is boundless, and many of his students have received help through his supernatural power. There are cases where the terminally ill or the incurable, receive the spiritual power from Living Buddha Lian-sheng and recover completely. The compassion and vows of Living Buddha Lian-sheng extend to a great field of sentient beings, and countless stories of students worldwide whose lives have been touched and saved are simply overwhelming.
The late Kalu Rinpoche once said, "Among those who propagate the Vajrayana teachings in Chinese, Living Buddha Lian-sheng is indeed the highest accomplished cultivator. It is important that people should 'Honour the Guru, Treasure the Dharma and Practise diligently.' The Vajrayana Dharma as taught by Living Buddha Lian-sheng helps practitioners to have great attainments. I (Kalu Rinpoche) hold the picture of Living Buddha Lian-sheng in my hands as a token of respect, and it is the same respect that I gave to the Buddha."
A Tibetan throne holder and tulku once said: "I see the mark of Mahasri (Goddess Laksmi) imprinted on the body of Living Buddha Lian-sheng, and I also see the mark of Shakyamuni Buddha on his crown. If a tulku has the mark of Mahasri, it is deemed sufficient, let alone having the mark of Shakyamuni Buddha. Any acharya with the mark of Shakyamuni Buddha symbolises his status as a throne holder, and Living Buddha Lian-sheng is certainly a throne holder."
Living Buddha Lian-sheng is indeed a vajra acharya, the living proof of manifested True Buddha. Here is a list of signs of vajra acharya:
I (Living Buddha Lian-sheng), due to compassion for sentient beings, hereby vow to remain in the Saha world throughout all lifetimes until the last sentient being attains buddhahood.
I vow to enter hell to deliver all sentient beings in spite of suffering excruciating pain and agony. Like the vow of Ksitigarbha, I shall not enter nirvana until the hell is empty. I shall not forsake a single sentient being.
Living Buddha Lian-sheng, whose real identity is the White Mahapadmakumara, was born in the human world where he attained buddhahood through his cultivation. He was conferred the name "Lotus Light Unhindered Buddha" by Shakyamuni Buddha in the spiritual world.
The principal deity on the shrines of True Buddha School disciples is the White Mahapadmakumara, the spiritual identity of Living Buddha Lian-sheng. This is placed in the central position to highlight the importance of the lineage, because there are no accomplishments without the blessing from the lineage.
If a person has not yet attained buddhahood and the person's photo is enshrined for worship, then his life will be shortened and he will pass away very soon. More than five million disciples of True Buddha School, including laity, monks and nuns, tulkus and rinpoches, have continued to enshrine and worship the photo of Living Buddha Lian-sheng, and some have done this for over twenty years. Yet, Living Buddha Lian-sheng remains healthy and alive. This proof that Living Buddha Lian-sheng is complete with the ten virtues and is the manifestation of a True Buddha.