Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen incarnated as the great master Panchen Sonam Drakpa, who was the first and only Lama to have become the abbot of all three monasteries, Gaden, Sera and Drepung. He was known throughout his lifetime for being an exemplary debater and for his incomparable teachings. To this day, monks in Gaden Shartse and Drepung Loseling study the philosophical texts he composed for their Geshe examinations.
In a subsequent lifetime, he then incarnated as Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen, a contemporary of the 5th Dalai Lama with whom he studied under the Guru, Panchen Lobsang Chokyi Gyeltsen, the 4th Panchen Lama.
Even as a young boy, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen displayed many extraordinary signs and behaved most unusually, with a strong tendency towards the Dharma. He was thus selected as one of the candidates to be recognised as the incarnation of the 4th Dalai Lama.
Eventually, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso was recognized and enthroned as the 5th Dalai Lama. The other young boy was recognised as an incarnation of Panchen Sonam Drakpa instead and given the name Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.
Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen matured into a powerful and famous high Lama in his own right. He became known as a very great teacher and began to draw throngs of students from as far as China and Mongolia. Royalty travelled great distances to seek teachings from him and he received a lot of sponsorship from his many students.
Once, at the height of his teaching career, he happened to have an audience with Nechung through an oracle. At this audience, Nechung urged him to remember his previous promise. “What promise?” Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen asked. The Nechung oracle took some rice, blew into it and passed it to him, saying, “If you eat this rice and meditate, you will remember clearly.”
Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen took the rice and followed the instructions accordingly. Just as Nechung had said, upon eating the rice the Lama was reminded instantly of the promise he once made in a previous life.
I remember my previous promise now! However, I don’t have any trace of wrath or wrathful energy within my mindstream that will enable me to arise as a Dharma Protector. What should I do?
~ Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen to Nechung
Nechung promised, “I will perform the activities to take care of that!”
Soon after, emanations of Nechung, appearing as travelers from all over, including many from the eastern region of Kham, came to Lhasa to seek audience and make offerings to Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen. They came in numbers that seemed to eclipse even those seeking audience with the 5th Dalai Lama.