Close this search box.


Four-year-old Boy in Himachal Pradesh Identified as Reincarnation of Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche

Nawang Tashi Rapten at Dorje Drak Monastery. From

Senior Buddhist lamas have identified a young boy in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh as the reincarnation of the revered lama Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Four-year-old Nawang Tashi Rapten hails from the remote village of Rangrik in Spiti Valley, near the Buddhist learning center of Tabo Monastery.

“We never imagined that our son would be chosen as Rinpoche’s reincarnation,” Nawang’s mother, Kelsang Dolma, was quoted as saying by local media. “Around a year ago, monks from Dorje Drak Monastery came to us. They then spoke to the Dalai Lama and Sakya Trichen Rinpoche, after which he was selected as the reincarnation.

“As a mother, to think about being separated from my son was painful. However, I am also happy that a high monk has taken birth at our home. I am glad that my younger son will guide people and work for the welfare of all. I feel privileged to have given birth to him,” (Hindustan Times)

Nawang Tashi Rapten with his parents. From

Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, who was appointed head of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in 2012, died on 24 December 2015 in Bodh Gaya. The body of the 89-year-old lama was preserved at Dorji Dak Monastery, which he founded in 1984, for 10 months before being cremated.

Born in Tibet in 1926, Rinpoche was recognized as a tulku when he was five years old.  He studies in Tibet until 1959 when he made his way to India. He continued his training at At Rumtek Monastery, receiving teachings from His Holiness the 16th Karmapa and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Rinpoche received the highest Dzogchen teachings from Polu Khenpo Dorje, a direct disciple of Khenpo Ngakchung.

The nearly six-year search by his disciples for Rinpoche’s reincarnation ended in Spiti earlier this year when they reached Tabo Monastery. Nawang, who was born on 16 April 2018, has been ordained by Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche, a monk from Lhodrak Kharchu Monastery in central Bhutan, as the head of Dorje Drak Monastery in Shimla.

“Basically, this is very important for us, this was a long wait for us for the last seven years,” an unidentified Tibetan Buddhist monk was quoted as saying by local media. “We heartily welcome him here in his seat. Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche performed the rituals here for the haircut and dress of the monk, which are generally done to make a normal person a monk. We are looking forward to his education. He is important to us as Buddhist monks and his followers, and in general, it is a very precious and auspicious occasion for us. First, he will go to meet the high monks and get the basics, and his studies and education will continue after this.” (The Daily Guardian)

Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche (1926-2015). From

““The reincarnation process is long and takes over a year,” said a Buddhist disciple from Spiti Valley. “After the death of high Buddhist monks, the lamas find out where the reincarnation will be born. The monks go into retreat, perform rituals, and take down a list of children born during that particular period. Later, they share specific locations and some identifications. (Hindustan Times)

The monks of Dorje Drak Monastery and Buddhist practitioners from the area organized an enthronement ceremony to welcome the young tulku, who will officially join the monastic sangha and begin his formal education. Nawang will take full charge as head of the monastery after completing his studies.

“Today is a very important day for the Buddhist community here, including him in the sangha,” a local resident explained. “It is very significant, particularly for those who are following the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of tantric practice. I am not the right person to speak about reincarnation. But briefly speaking . . . we believe there is a physical body and a mind-stream. The body dies when a person dies, but the mind-stream continues. The reincarnation process involves locating and identifying someone to carry on that mind-stream. It is great news for the Buddhists in the Spiti region and for others in the Himalayan region.” (The Daily Guardian)


As soon as Nawang was recognized as a reincarnated lama, his parents withdrew him from the kindergarten at which he had been studying.

“My son always spoke of going to Shimla, and meeting a dog there. We never knew what was in store for him. I never imagined that he will be a tulku and head monk of the monastery,” Nawang’s father, Sonam Chhopel, said of his son’s new life. “During the last three months, he has completely changed and he does not like to sit or live with us. While traveling to Shimla he was happy sitting with the monk in his separate car.” (Hindustan Times)

See more

Nyingma monks find reincarnation of Buddhist master in 4-year-old Spiti boy (Hindustan Times)
PIX: 4-Year-Old Reincarnation Of A Lama (
Meet RAPTEN: reincarnation of a Buddhist master (The Daily Guardian)
Buddhist Nyingma sect finds ‘reincarnation’ of famous Rinpoche (The Hindu)
Himachal Pradesh: Nyingma monks find reincarnation of Buddhist master in 4-year-old Spiti Boy (The Times of India)
Four-year-old identified as Rinpoche’s reincarnation (The Tribune)
4-year-old Lahaul-Spiti boy ‘Rapten’ becomes reincarnation of Buddhist master (The Tribune)
4-year-old Spiti boy ‘Rapten’ becomes reincarnation of Buddhist master (The Print)

Related news reports from BDG

His Holiness Kathok Getse Rinpoche, Seventh Head of the Nyingma School, Passes Away in Nepal

Related features from Buddhistdoor Global

Related news from Buddhistdoor Global

Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Association Martanttara pour la Culture (de fait)
Association Martanttara pour la Culture (de fait)
1 year ago

Used to come & go in the close vicinity of Bir Colony H.P. and with Heart-warm-felt memories of Spiti Valley, Kaza & Tabo Jewel monasteries in particular, Wishing Long Life & limitless Activity to Yangsi Tsetrul Rimpoché, Mandala, & each & everyOne auspiciously connected… from East to West and South to North endlessly !! M e r c i Mr. Lewis for sharing ! Time to gather all & everyOne with Refuge or Empathy with the whole content of 4 Wheels Sarwa Dharma of the fully Accomplished Vajra Awakened One…