Eminent monk reveals details of search for reincarnation

Photo shows the 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu attends a Buddhist ceremony

There are many renowned monks in addition to Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama in the reincarnation system of the Tibetan Buddhism. Rinpoche Drukhang the abbot for a monastery in northern Tibet discloses his daily agenda:

“I work at China Buddhist Association’s Tibetan branch and the Buddhist College of Tibet, where I also lecture. I also bring medicine and medical supplies to shepherding areas, help the poor, and the students. People want to honor the living Buddha, so they offer me the hada, donate money, or give gifts. If I refuse, they’d be upset, since this is their religion. So I’d accept the gifts at the time, and I’d sometimes give them medicine in exchange. I also help in other ways, such as repairing temples.”

Drukhang is a renowned Living Buddha system in northern Tibet and is held at very high esteem by the people of the prairie. Drukhang Thubtan Khedrup is the incarnation of the sixth Drukhang Rinpoche. He was confirmed as the seventh Drukhang Rinpoche in 1958, when he was less than 3.

“When my reincarnation passed away, the smoke went toward the southeast, so some Rinpoches believed the reincarnation would come from that direction. They found four boys there, one from a local government official, one from a prominent family in Lhasa, and two others are from shepherding families, including me.”

The 11th Panchen Lama and Living Buddha Drukhang

From a religious perspective, the most important part of confirming a new Rinpoche is finding the reincarnation. Rinpoche Drukhang revealed some of the details of the search:

“When a Rinpoche reaches a certain age some would leave notes on where the child would be born; some Rinpocheswould tell people nearby, ‘I’m going to such and such a place…’ When the 10thPanchen Lama came to Nagqu in 1985, he taught sutras at our temple. He kept saying, ‘I love Nagqu, I love the shepherding area, I will definitely come here.’ So his reincarnation appeared in Nagqu (Lhari County). Some Rinpoches were cremated after their passing, so some people would observe the direction of the smoke. Wherever the smoke went, that’s where the reincarnation would be. Another way is to ask if there are unique kids with special features born this year. If so, it would have to be kept confidential, you need to ask, do research, and learn more. Finally, the government would sign off and add a seal to make it effective. Then you have a real Rinpoche.”

The 11th Panchen Lama as a child (left) and the boy confirmed as the reincarnation of Living Buddha Dedrup