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US Boy, 11, declared reincarnated holy man

A US boy is not going back to school - after he was declared the reincarnation of a Buddhist holy man who first died in 1250.

Boston-born Jigme Wangchuk, 11, has now moved to India where he has been made the head of a Buddhist sect in the country's eastern Darjeeling city.

His parents say they discovered their son was not like other children two years ago when he started talking about his "past life". At first, they dismissed it as a childish fantasy, but began taking it seriously during a trip to a monastery in Mysore, southern India.At one point, he went into a trance in which he described a celebrated Buddhist monastery with a 35ft dragon on the roof.

After hearing his description of the temple he had never visited, the monks proclaimed he was the reincarnation of the 'Rinpoche' or high priest Galwa Lorepa, the founder of one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism.Now he will spent the next ten years in virtual seclusion and only be able to communicate with his former school friends by email."It has been a very difficult period for us over the past two years. I have been crying for the past five months, but have, at last, come to terms with it," said his mother Dechen."When we were in New Delhi on our way to Darjeeling, I asked him whether he would like to go back to Boston. He said he has to fulfil his responsibilities to his people."But for 'His Holiness' Jigme, there's no regrets: "I will miss my school days but I am happy in my new role. I like it here," he said.

The drone of gyaling (a Tibetan musical instrument) reverberated across Darjeeling and masked dancers performed the traditional cham as 11-year-old Jigme Wangchuk from Boston was enthroned today as the reincarnation of Gyalwa Lorepa, more than 750 years after the monk of the Drukpa sect died.

For Wangchuk, a fifth grader at St Peter’s School, Boston, the recognition as the incarnate of the monk who passed away in 1250 AD, had come two years ago. From today, however, Wangchuk’s seat will be the Druk-Sa-Ngag Choeling monastery at Dali in Darjeeling. “It is after 700 years that the reincarnation has arrived,” said Karma Rinpoche, who is the boy’s uncle.

Reincarnations are identified through an elaborate procedure. In 2007, when Wangchuk was visiting the Kagyu-Nalanda monastery near Mysore he had spoken of his past life describing his vision of monasteries as they stood then, including one in Bhutan.

“He talked about the monastery (in Bhutan) being situated in a rocky area of the Himalayas with a 35-foot long dragon adorning its rooftop,” recalled Karma Rinpoche. Four hours after Wangchuk recited his vision, the 12th incarnate of Tsangpa Gyare — another Drukpa monk — sent word to the family, recognising the boy as Gyalwa Lorepa.




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