I was almost two and a half when I was recognized as Tsenshap Serkong Rinpoche, my previous life’s reincarnation. I was taken to Tabo Monastery, which is near my birthplace. From my birthplace village in Spiti to the Monastery is five kilometers – not a long distance.
I remember, around the age of four, some of my previous life’s attendants and some monks came to my house. Then some previous life’s students shaved my hair and took me to the Monastery. I was so curious, “What is happening?” I was not afraid actually. I concealed the feeling at that time, but I felt, “Something is changing.” That’s what I felt. I didn’t feel anything positive, and I didn’t feel anything negative. “Something is happening. I don’t know what is happening.” They put me on a throne and did all the rituals, the pujas and everything. I sat there for almost an hour and a half looking at almost a hundred people looking toward me, chanting something that I really didn’t know what it was. It was a really strange feeling.
At the age of five or six, I was taken to Dharamsala to meet His Holiness. That was the fun part. I still remember a little bit about that. I offered a mandala to His Holiness. But what happened was that, in his residence, His Holiness had a color TV. I knew what TV was, and I loved watching it. Back in Spiti, we only had one TV, and we could watch it only on Sundays and only for one hour. There was only one program that we could watch. It was Indian, Hindu, some war thing, something about the Ramayana.
So, I’m really excited. It was more exciting looking at the TV than at His Holiness. I’m looking back and forth at the TV and then at His Holiness. I have a photo of His Holiness looking at me, and I’m looking somewhere else: I’m looking at the TV. In the photo, you can see the TV. It was a really funny thing. It was really embarrassing.
Through my studying, slowly, slowly, I learned that I’m taking responsibility for someone who was known in my past life as Tsenshap Serkong Rinpoche. So, my life is continuing like this. And that is how I was identified as Tsenshap Serkong Rinpoche.