#18: Recognition and Enthronement

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H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche's current and two previous incarnations: Gedun Nyedrak (Gaden Shartse's 72nd abbot) and Kensur Rinpoche Thubten Lamsang


For many years, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche stayed in a tiny leaking room belonging to Zong Ladrang and lived mostly on bread and tea. Whilst living in Zong Ladrang, he was formally recognised and enthroned as the reincarnation of Gaden Shartse’s 72nd abbot, Gedun Nyedrak, by H.E. Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche and the oracular pronouncement of Gaden Shartse’s Protector Setrap Chen. The final confirmation of his reincarnation status came from the Spiritual Head of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Tulkus of Pukhang Khangtsen

Prior to his incarnation as Kensur Gedun Nyedrak, Rinpoche’s long line of incarnations goes back to one of the disciples of Lama Tsongkhapa.

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche makes offerings to the Spiritual Head of Tibetan Buddhism...

...during the historic audience with His Holiness

Rinpoche was enthroned in 1991. As had been the case throughout his life, his family was not there to support him. He was once more alone.

I’m going to sit on this throne with the motivation that I will benefit others…

Final confirmation of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche's reincarnation status was given by the Spiritual Head of Tibetan Buddhism. H.E. Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche (far right) is one of the attained masters who recognised Tsem Rinpoche's reincarnation status.

The following is a summary of the many recognitions of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s reincarnation status as a high lama.

  • At 7 months, monks came and recognised him as a reincarnated Lama.
  • H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Rinpoche’s root Guru, gave verbal recognition.
  • H.E. Ayang Drupchen Rinpoche gave verbal recognition.
  • The Dharma Protector of Gyuto Tantric College, Dorje Yudroma, via oracle.
  • H.E. Drigung Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Chozin, one of Rinpoche’s Gurus, knew his incarnation status upon sight. He had his recognition officiated with his own personal stationery and seal. He also recognized Rinpoche as a mahasattva, which indicates that his line of incarnations go back further beyond Kensur Gedun Nyedrak
  • H.E. Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Rinpoche’s Guru and abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery at that time.
  • The oracle of Sera Monastery.
  • Gaden Shartse’s Dharma Protector Setrap Chen, via the Monastery’s oracle, recognised Rinpoche following a request from H.E. Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche. This session has been recorded down and bears the seal of Setrap’s office. It serves as Rinpoche’s main recognition paper as issued by his Monastery. Rinpoche’s personal seal, as well, has the official backing of Lord Setrap Chen, and hence the entire Monastery.
  • Final confirmation was bestowed by the Spiritual Head of Tibetan Buddhism, during a special audience requested for this purpose by H.E. Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche

Ms. Irene Lim, one of Tsem Rinpoche's long-time students (far left) was present during this historic audience with His Holiness

Also, H.E. Drigung Rinpoche (seated) recognised Tsem Rinpoche as a mahasattva, whose line of incarnations goes back more than 3 lifetimes

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