Asanga Rinpoche Sakya, a royal Tibetan Buddhist leader, left his family in 2005 to study at a Sakya Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu, The Seattle Times reported.
Sakya Buddhism differs from the religion's other sects in that its teachings and instructions are passed down through blood lineage, which requires a male heir to keep it going. Two of Asanga's male cousins are also studying Buddhism in Tibet.
"I wanted to know about Tibet, study the scripture and how to read and write," he said of his choice to leave his family.
In June, the 13-year-old returned to the United States for the first time since he moved to Tibet.
"I was wondering what it would be like, 'cause I couldn't remember that much about Seattle," Asanga said of his return.
In Tibet, Asanga's daily routine consists of mostly studying and praying, in preparation to give his own religious teachings and possibly one day lead the more than 100,000 Sakya Buddhists worldwide.
But at home in Seattle, he has been hanging out with his two younger sisters, Aloki, 11 and Mamaki, 6, and has a trip to California planned to visit with other family members and go to Disneyland.