The Second Shangpa Rinpoche
|Fig 2. Letter of Recognition|
Around 4 to 5 years after Shangpa Rinpoche had passed away, many disciples discussed about finding the reincarnation of Shangpa Rinpoche and finally decided to send some representatives to Rumtek where His Holiness the 16th Karmapa resided. The group of representatives comprised of three persons. They are Karma Trasam, Dawa Pura and another village head of Dolpo. According to them, when they saw His Holiness for the first time, they also brought photos of Shangpa Rinpoche for blessing. His Holiness asked for one of the photos from them. He told them that Shangpa Rinpoche was a great master and also a Buchen (great son) of the 15th Karmapa. He then kept the photo. They asked him if Shangpa Rinpoche had been reincarnated. His Holiness said he was a great Bodhisattva. Therefore, he surely must have been reincarnated. His Holiness said he would check carefully and write down how to find the reincarnate in a letter. The next day, His Holiness called for them and gave them the letter that he had prepared.
My mum cannot remember exactly the contents of the letter, but it goes something like this: "The father is talented and the first name of the mother is Donma. They have a son born in the year of the pig with some marks on his body. This son is unmistakably the incarnation of Shangpa Rinpoche. In their home, they have a dog and a horse which are also specially marked". Since His Holiness mentioned that the father is talented, the representatives interpreted that the father is a famous artist . My mother’s name indeed starts with Donma. Her full name is Donma Tsomo and her nickname is Dontso. I was born in the year of the pig and I have a whole round of red dots around my waist. My parents had a horse whose forehead was pure white and also a unique dog which is reddish in color but whose mouth and legs are all white.
His Holiness' letter also mentioned that the Tulku - reincarnate may face lots of obstacles. In order to overcome the obstacles, many prayers needed to be done and many pujas needed to be performed. These are one hundred thousand 21 praises to Tara prayers, one hundred million recitations of the 100 syllables mantra of Vajrasattva, and the reading of the Kangyur texts. All these needed to be done as soon as possible. The preserved body of the first Shangpa Rinpoche must be cremated to overcome the reincarnate’s obstacles.
His Holiness questioned them about the whereabouts of the artist Karma (my father). They told him that the artist had passed away. HH clapped both his hands together once and said it was a big loss as such a skilled person was hard to find. He further asked them if the artist had any family. They told him that he has a wife and one son who is just three years old. His Holiness told them that they must take a good care of the son. His Holiness instructed they must tell Shey Tulku that His Holiness asked him to take care of any matters concerning the artist's son and wife. His Holiness said that this was very important as times were bad. He also mentioned that if the son was well taken care of, he could become an important person in future. Because of this short conversation and the letter given by His Holiness, the representatives felt certain that the artist’s son is the reincarnate. So they brought the letter back to Dolpo.
The representatives then called a gathering with everyone, inviting Shey Tulku and the head man as well. His Holiness' letter was read. The representatives described whatever His Holiness had told them. The most urgent thing to do was prayer recitations and pujas. Those were voluntarily taken care of. The reading of the Kangyur text was taken care of by the village head. Shey Tulku sponsored and took care of the recitation of the 100 syllables mantra of Vajrasattva. The recitation of the 21 praises to Tara was performed by a group of monks.
According to His Holiness' instruction, the preserved body of Shangpa Rinpoche should not be kept and must be cremated. However, the body of the first Shangpa Rinpoche was still in Tibet. Therefore, a man named Drawa Pura went to Tibet and brought the preserved body back by carrying it on his back all the way to Dolpo. After he reached Dolpo, the people of Dolpo did not want to cremate the body and wanted to keep it. A big argument ensued. Finally, Drawa Pura told them that if any of them was still against the cremation, he would not tolerate and will fight all the way. No one dared to object further. Drawa Pura cremated the body and managed to do it well.
After all the preparations had been completed, they gathered together again to finalize the recognition of the reincarnate. Based on His Holiness' letter, some of my actions and my stories, they decided that I was unmistakably the reincarnate of the first Shangpa Rinpoche. I was just four years old then. One day, some people came to my room at Trekyam Gompa, passed the letter to me and put on me a very long protection cord with two colors. They also gave me many Dharma pills and Black pills to eat for blessings. After that, they did prostrations in front of me and queued up to get blessings from my hands. I did not know what was happening at that time, yet I felt good as my mother looked very happy.
So in this way, people started to regard me as Shangpa Rinpoche and showed me respect.
|Fig 3. HH 16 Karmapa|
|Fig 4. Second Shangpa Rinpoche|