January 29, 1996 in Nation/World

Joyous Monks Greet Seattle Boy, Their Awaited Lama

Associated Press

He may be only 4 years old, but his devout followers have waited nine years for his return.

On Sunday, he arrived - the Buddhist monk believed to be reincarnated in the body of a spirited American boy.

A cluster of overjoyed monks circled around the boy at the Katmandu airport, hoisting him onto their shoulders and presenting him with a beautiful beige silk scarf, in keeping with an ancient Tibetan custom.

The boy thanked them for ending a journey that had begun in his birthplace of Seattle and had left him ambling through the two-story airport.

“It’s a long way, and I was tired of walking,” the boy said as he was carried to the car that drove him to the monastery that he will lead - after he spends years studying the Tibetan language and Buddhism.

The boy, whose name at birth was Sonam Wangdu, is called Trulku-la and is recognized by Tibetan Buddhists as Deshung Rinpoche IV - the reincarnation of a high lama who died in Seattle in 1987.

Deshung Rinpoche III moved to Seattle in 1960 after China’s military took over Tibet, and taught at the University of Washington.

Before he died, Rinpoche III told his students he would be reborn in the Seattle area.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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