The 7th Ling Rinpoche
His Eminence the 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was born in India on November 18, 1985. He was taken to the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, after his mother died, and stayed there until His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized him as the reincarnation of his Senior Tutor, the 6th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche, who passed away in 1983.
The 7th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche began his studies at Drepung Monastic University in South India when he was ten years old. He received his Geshe degree in November 2016 and enrolled at Gyuto Tantric College in Dharamsala, India in April 2017 for a year of tantric studies that traditionally follows the completion of a Geshe degree. In November 2012 while driving to Goa Airport to greet His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who had arrived to give Jangchup Lamrim teachings, Ling Rinpoche was in a fatal car accident and sustained serious injuries. Lengthy surgeries were required and his complete recovery took several years.
In 1991 Ling Rinpoche gave his first teaching in South Korea. Since then he has given teachings and tantric initiations in several countries in Asia and Europe, Canada, the United States, Israel, as well as Tibetan settlements throughout India and Nepal. Rinpoche has also organized and attended many important Buddhist events.
Ling Rinpoche organized His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s historic series of Jangchup Lamrim teachings on the 18 classic Stages of the Path to Enlightenment treatises. They were held at Sera, Drepung, Ganden and Tashi Lhunpo monasteries between 2012 and 2015 with approximately 40,000 people from all over the world attending each year. Rinpoche attends international events dedicated to preserving Buddhist traditions, including the International Conference on Vinaya and World Peace Puja in Bodhgaya, India and the conference on the relevance of Buddhism in the 21st Century in Rajgir, India that was organized by the Indian Government Ministry of Culture and the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara. Starting in 2004 he has also participated in the Mind and Life Institute dialogues held in India between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and scientists on a variety of topics, such physics, neuroplasticity and destructive emotions.
Yongzin Lingtsang Labrang and Drepung Monastery requested His Holiness the Dalai Lama to do divination for the discovery of his Senior Tutor’s incarnation. They wanted to ensure all the activities, offerings and prayers
to the Triple Gems were being done correctly
for a speedy discovery of the genuine incarnation of the 6th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche.
The 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche’s discovery was one where the child clearly recognizes a member of the search party. In August 1987 members of a search party visited the Tibetan Children’s Village baby room and asked a caretaker to see a boy called Tenzin Choephag. She pointed to the child, who was already holding one of the search party member’s hand. Although he was only 18 months old, Tenzin Choephag called the person by name.
He was then given rosaries and took the one that belonged to the Senior Tutor. When he recited something, while counting 21 beads, the search party was astonished and overwhelmed with joy by the spontaneous action. The young boy also identified others, who were close to his predecessor.
The next day Losang Lungrig, who served the Senior Tutor with deep devotion at Yongzin Lingtsang Labrang for many years, went to TVC to meet Tenzin Choephag. The boy gave him a blessing by touching foreheads and then blessed others by placing his small hands on their heads. These gestures were seen as a true sign of his predecessor’s behavior. When the discovery was reported to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he asked for Tenzin Choephag to be brought to his residence for further testing. His Holiness has remarked, “When I met the boy for the first time, I had no doubts about his identity. He behaved in a way that made it obvious he knew me, although he showed the utmost respect. He acted just as his predecessor had done. It was clear he knew his way around my residence. When he came into my study, he showed immediate familiarity with one of my attendants, who at the time was recovering from a broken leg. This tiny person was very serious when he presented Kusho Lobsang Gawa with a kata. Then in full laughter and childish giggles, he picked-up one of his crutches and ran around carrying it as if it were a flag pole.” His Holiness concluded this was the unmistaken incarnation and confirmed his perception with additional divination. When he was requested to name the child, the Dalai Lama chose Tenzin Lungtog Trinley Choephag.
In October 1987 Tenzin Choephag was enthroned in a ceremony on the seat of his predecessor. Everyone present was impressed by his composure and dignity, even though he was less than two years old. His Holiness attended the event and remarked, “I felt a great sense of joy now that Chogtul Rinpoche has come to occupy the seat of Lama Dorjechang. I stayed for lunch with him and as I got into the car to leave, I met his forehead. The young child held on to a part of my robe and wanted to come with me. Once again this re-enforced my faith and conviction that this too was a clear indication of the continuous care and loving kindness of my Root Guru.”
The 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche joined Drepung Monastic University’s Loseling College in 1990, which was re-established in the Mundgod Tibetan settlement in South India. His enrollment and return to the monastery of his predecessors was celebrated with large, traditional religious ceremonies for auspiciousness. The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoches had studied there as members of the Ling Khangtsen.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave the young Ling Rinpoche novice monk vows in 1993 to continue a monastic lineage. He also received full monk or Bikshu vows from His Holiness exactly 50 years after the Dalai Lama had received them from his Senior Tutor. Monks usually receive Bikshu vows when they are 20 years old. Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was asked to lead a Long Life Puja on March 5, 2004 that was organized by the Tibetan Government to commemorate the 50th anniversary of His Holiness taking the Bikshu vows. The 6th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche had given them to him in 1954 in front of the Jho statue in Lhasa’s Jokhang temple. Since Ling Rinpoche was 20 years old at the time, His Holiness gave him the Bikshu vows on March 3, 2004 at Yongzin Lingtsang Labrang in Dharamsala. The 6th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche had received all his monastic vows from the 13th Dalai Lama in the Potala Palace.
The Gelug tradition emphasizes a deep and intensive study of Buddhist scriptures. Yongzin Ling Rinpoche’s monastic studies began when he was ten years old under the guidance of the Dalai Lama. Geshe Namgyal Wangchen and Geshe Thubten Rapgay served as his two main tutors. During breaks from studying, he has completed private retreats.
The 13th Dalai Lama established a formal Geshe degree program of advanced training as one of his monastic reforms. A Geshe is a master of five subjects of Buddhist teachings.
- Perfection of Wisdom Sutras (Prajnaparamita)
- Middle Way philosophy (Madhyamaka)
- Logic/Valid Cognition (Pramana)
- Phenomenology (Abhidharma)
- Monastic Discipline (Vinaya)
The 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche began the two-day Geshe Graduation Ceremony at Drepung Loseling monastery on November 20, 2016, the auspicious holy day of Lhabab Duchen, which honors Buddha’s descent from Tushita heaven. The entire assembly of Drepung Loseling monks attended, along with the Abbots and ex-Abbots of many monasteries, distinguished scholars and guests. The 103rd Gaden Tri Rinpoche, a Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, CTA Minister for Religion & Culture and other eminent guests joined the Abbott of Drepung Loseling Monastery in delivering inspiring speeches recognizing Rinpoche’s achievement. The Loseling Tulku Association also offered Rinpoche an award to acknowledge the completion of his studies.
Ling Rinpoche made offerings to the monks of Drepung monastery. After his Geshe Graduation Ceremony, he visited and made offerings to monks and nuns at several monasteries in South India. They included Ganden, Sera, Tashi Lhunpo, Gyudmed and Dzongkar Choede monasteries. He will spend the next year at Gyuto Tantric College to complete a year of tantric studies that traditionally follows the completion of the Geshe degree.