At the time, the Dalai Lama’s Gaden Palace was referred to as the Lower Residence and Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen’s Palace, the Upper Residence. This referred to the positioning of the residences, with one being literally physically higher than the other, rather than the status or attainments of the respective Lamas. However, people began talk about both the Upper and Lower residences as if they were equal in stature which meant that many saw Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen as equal to the Dalai Lama.
On top of that, they even made Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s throne higher than the Dalai Lama’s during the Great Prayer Festival in Lhasa. These were among the many reasons for the Dalai Lama’s regent, Desi Sonam Chopel, and other attendants at the Dalai Lama’s Gaden Palace to begin talking and expressing their unbearable jealousy. They eventually began to talk about assassinating Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.
One day, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen feigned a sudden illness, which he said was due to interferences of inauspicious spirits, and began to make preparations for the inevitable. Desi Sonam Chopel’s brother, Depa Norbu, who was in collusion with the evil Desi, came to where Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was residing under the pretext of visiting. He entered the large bedroom of the high Lama and tried to offer him food laced with poison.
However, as Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was an enlightened being, he did not have the karma to be harmed and the poison had no effect on him. Next, Depa Norbu tried to stab him with a dagger but the blade wouldn’t penetrate his skin. Instead, mysterious eyes would appear wherever Depa Norbu had tried to pierce him with the dagger, and stared back menacingly.
Finally, understanding what his adversaries were trying to do, and knowing how it would help him to fulfil his promise, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen advised them that he could only be killed if he was choked with a khata.
Immediately Depa Norbu took a long white khata and stuffed it down his throat with such brute force that the high Lama suffocated and passed away. It was said this murder was so violent that, at the point of death, a slight amount of fierce energy resembling wrath arose in the mind of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. This energy created the circumstances for him to arise in the form of the wrathful Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden.