9 Nov 2010

11 year-old Boston boy declared reincarnation of 700 year-old Buddhist sect leader, isolated from family for further indoctrination

The Hindustan Times - October 30, 2009

Boston boy enthroned as Buddhis sect head in Darjeeling

Amitava Banerjee | Hindustan Times

The journey from Jigme Wangchuk to His Holiness Galwa Lorepa; the journey from Boston, USA to Drukpa Sangag Choeling Monastery in Dali, near Darjeeling town in North Bengal was definitely a trying and testing time for both 11-year-old Jigme, his parents and his sister.

However, for the Drukpa Kagyu Sect of Tantrayana Buddhism (Lamaism), it was a time for boundless exhilaration as they had found one of the Gyalwa Namsum (Three Victorious Ones) after a long gap of more than 700 years.

Born in Boston, USA, Jigme Wangchuk was identified as the first reincarnation of HH Galwa Lorepa of the Drukpa Kagyu sect, a reincarnation after more than 700 years. With Jigme Wangchuk coming to Darjeeling even his parents have sold their family business in the USA and come to Darjeeling to stay here and serve him. His sister also will be studying in Darjeeling henceforth.

Talking to HT, he stated it is a big transition. "I do miss being a joyful school boy. I miss my home, my grandparents, aunts and uncles. However, being a Rinpoche is such a great honour and I feel blessed with my past responsibilities.

"My parents keep visiting me here in the monsatery and they told me that they have moved here to serve me and take care of me. As for my friends, I will contact them through emails," he added.

HH Galwa Lorepa has withdrawn himself (own will) from Grade 5 of St. Peter School in Boston. Henceforth he will be continuing his monastic studies in the Druk Sangag Choeling Monastery in Darjeeling.

However, the transition from a USA schoolboy to one of the heads of a Buddhist sect has not been an easy one for the family. Dechen, mother of Jigme talking to HT stated, "He used to always talk of his past life but we did not take it seriously, dubbing it as a young mind fantasies. Two years back we were visiting South India on a holiday. One afternoon at the Kagyu Nalanda Monsatery in Mysore, Jigme suddenly stopped playing and started narrating his past life as if in a trance."

"He talked of himself living in a monastery somewhere in the Himalayas, surrounded by huge rocks and a dragon, 32 feet in length as the main being of the monastery ( The dragon being an important sign as Druk means Dragon and Pa person according to Drukpa lineage)."

On the same day (two hours after the incident) the Secretary of HH the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa Rinpoche, the head of the Drukpa Kagyu Sect brought a message stating that the Gyalwang Rinpoche had identified Jigme as the reincarnation of HH Galwa Lorepa (using all the ancient prescribed methods) and even instructed special prayers and ceremonies to be performed.

Later Dichen had visited Bhutan. "I came across the monastery exactly the same as his description in Bumthang in Bhutan," stated Dichen. "Other masters, Rinpoches, High Lamas also dubbed Jigme as a special person and a reincarnation," added Karma Rinpoche, Jigme's uncle. Jigme then visited the 800 yrs Druk Conference in Nepal. It has been very difficult for Dechen, the mother.

"I have been crying for the past five months. However, I do believe now and have come to terms with it. When we were in New Delhi on our way to Darjeeling, I asked him whether he would like to go back to Boston. To which he answered that he has a lot of responsibility to a lot of people who have a lot of hope in him. This makes him very strong."

The family, all USA citizens have sold their family business, a restaurant in Boston and are planning to settle in Darjeeling. "We have already bought a house here and are planning to admit his sister Tashi in a school in Darjeeling," added Dichen.

10-year-old Tashi feels good and proud. I will miss Boston. On the other hand I will be able to visit my brother here, she stated.

Incidentally Dichen had gone to Boston from Dharmasala, India in 1989 where she had met Chosang, who was from Mysore. They had then married, opened a restaurant there in Boston.

A packed monastery today saw HH Galwa Lorepa enthroned. 12th Gyalwang Drukpa Rinpoche, the head of the Drukpa Kagyu Sect was also present for the ceremony. The annual Chum dance or mask dance ceremony was also held throughout the day at the monastery depicting the life of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) and his eight manifestations.

The Drukpa Lineage was founded in western Tibet by Drogon Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211). The main seat of this sect is Ralung in Tibet.

Under this lineage Gyalwa Lorepa, Gyalwa Gotsangpa and his disciple Gyalwa Yang Gonpa are known as Gyalwa Namsum or the Three Victorious Ones in recognition of their spiritual realisation. The followers of Gyalwa Lorepa came to be called the 'Lower Drukpas'. The followers of Gyalwa Gotsangpa came to be called the 'Upper Drukpas'. And the followers of Onre Darma

Sengye came to be called the 'Middle Drukpas'.

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