Itanagar: Guru Tulku Rinpoche, an eminent Buddhist monk from Arunachal Pradesh, who headed the historical Gaden Namgyal Lhatse or Tawang monastery till 2016, has been selected for the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award of the country.

Guru Tulku Rinpoche has been selected to receive the prestigious award under the ‘spiritualism’ category along with Sadguru Brahmeshanand Acharya Swami from Goa.

Guru Tulku Rinpoche (54) was born to Yab Lobsang Tshering and Yum Pema Choden on October 19, 1968 at Khamkharong in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.

It’s believed that he was recognized as the reincarnation of Late Thupten Kelden Rinpoche at the age of five by the 14th Dalai Lama.

Late Thupten Kelden Rinpoche was the 11th Merag Lama.

Guru Tulku Rinpoche’s traditional hair cutting was performed by the Dalai Lama when he was seven years old during his Kalachakra teaching and was named Tenzin Kelden.

He was ordained as a novice monk or getshul two years later, when he was nine and as a monk or gelong when he was twenty. In the meantime, he studied at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics for 13 years.

He joined the Drepung Monastic University in south India to pursue higher studies in Buddhist philosophy. In the next few years, he completed his doctoral studies in Buddhist philosophies and pursued Mahayana tantric studies.

Guru Tulku Rinpoche started serving at the office of the Dalai Lama from 1998 and continued there for ten years till 2008, when he was appointed as Abbot of the Tawang monastery.

He stepped down from the position in 2016.

Instituted in 1954, the Padma Awards that are conferred in three categories – Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri – are the highest civilian awards awarded by the Government of India every year on Republic Day.

A total of 128 people have been honoured with the awards this year including India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat who has been honoured posthumously with the Padma Vibhushan.

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