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Confirmation by H.H. The Dalai Lama (June 1992)

“The boy born to Karma Döndrub and Loga in the Wood-Ox Year (of the Tibetan calendar) identifies with the prediction letter (left by the late Karmapa) and is hereby recognized as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa. With prayers for his well-being and for the success of his activities. ” — The Dalai Lama (translated by Kalon Tashi Wangdi)

After the advance search team from Tsurphu had located the Seventeenth Karmapa in Tibet, the monastic party accompanied the young Karmapa to Kalek monastery. Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Sherab Tarchin soon arrived to verify the information of the search party.

In India, meanwhile, Their Eminences Tai Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltshab Rinpoche in India waited at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim for news of the results of the search. In early June, they traveled to Dharamsala to inform the supreme leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, that a search party had been dispatched to find the reincarnation, based on the sacred testament of the 16th Karmapa interpreted by the council of seatholder. In Delhi, on the way to see His Holiness, they were able to contact Tsurphu through an intermediary in Lhasa, and learned that His Holiness’s incarnation had been found according to the letter, with verification of signs such as the name of the father, the mother, location of the family, and auspicious events surrounding the birth. Immediately they departed for Dharamsala to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama and seek his confirmation of the discovery.

When they arrived in Dharamsala, they learned that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had left for Brazil. Through His Holiness’s office in Dharmsala, their eminences relayed the information they had gathered, including the sacred letter, the confirming information about the details from Tibet, the manner of the search and examination, a drawing of the birthplace, Guru Rinpoche’s prophesy and other details. In response to this, His Holiness provided his informal confirmation, replying that “It is appropriate to recognize and confirm” the candidate Apo Gaga as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa. Based on this confirmation, the advance party decided to bring His Holiness Karmapa to Tsurphu. [Initial communication from H.H. The Dalai Lama about the discovery of the 17th Karmapa]

After consideration of the evidence and additional meetings with Their Eminences Tai Situ Rinpoche, Tsurphu Gyaltsab Rinpoche and Shamar Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama granted the Buktham Rinpoche, the official notification of the Dalai Lama’s approval of the identity of His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa.

The Office of the Dalai Lama published specific additional details of the identifications on July 23, 1992 as follows:

The personal identifications of the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa as indicated by the Sacred Letter of Prediction left by the 16th Karmapa, consistently confirmed by the search party, and as formally approved by His Holiness the Dalai Lama are as below.

Name of the Reincarnate: Ugen Thinley alias Apo Gaga
Date and Year of birth: June 26, 1985 (Wood-Ox Year)
Place of birth
Village: Bakor
District: Lhatok
Province: Kham
Country: Tibet (occupied)
Names of Parents:
Father: Karma Dondup Tashi
Mother: Loga
Place of residence: Tsurphu Monastery, Tibet

[full text]

When the joyous confirmation of the new Karmapa’s identity was received at Kalek monastery, Akong Rinpoche and Sherab Tarchin presented His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, with the special robes and sacred blessings of the tru.sol, that they were carrying on behalf of the Tai Situpa and the Goshir Gyaltsabpa and which had been especially prepared in India at the outset of their journey. Customary offerings were made to the Karmapa’s parents to express gratitude for the care that they had given him up to the time of discovery. After a short period, His Holiness departed with an entourage for Tsurphu Monastery the traditional home of the Karmapas.