It is not possible to capture all the incarnations of the Yongzin Ling Rinpoche lineage prior
to the 1st Ling Rinpoche, Trichen Dhondup Gyatso (1655-1702). Beginning with an arhat
during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, twenty-two notable manifestations have been
identified as an inspiration for others. They include kings, scholars, yogis and tertons,
who are spiritual treasure revealers. The lineage history demonstrates the qualities
that lead to Enlightenment are perfected over many lives. The path is not easy and requires
deep faith and constant effort. (More Details)
Relationship with the Dalai Lamas
There is a long association between the Dalai Lama and Yongzin Ling Rinpoche lineages.
- The 1st Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was the tutor to the 6th Dalai Lama during a period
of political turmoil, after the 5th Dalai Lama died. He supported his student, but many
obstacles prevented him from achieving his goal and the 6th Dalai Lama was forced
to leave the Potala Palace.
- The 4th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was recognized by the 9th Dalai Lama and became
the tutor of the 11th Dalai Lama.
- The 5th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche became the tutor of the 13th Dalai Lama,
who recognized the 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche when he was seven years old.
The 13th Dalai Lama became his teacher and gave him the entire Lamrim Chenmo
lineage teachings. After his Holiness’ death in 1933, the 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche
spent two years participating in the ritual preservation of his body using salt baths.
He also performed the reliquary stupa consecration ritual in the Potala Palace
for the preserved body.
- When the 14th Dalai Lama was five years old, the 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche became
an assistant tutor, then the junior tutor and in 1953 his Senior Tutor. To be chosen
as a tutor for a Dalai Lama, a candidate must be highly respected and the most
qualified in all Sutra, Tantra and Vinaya studies. His Holiness has stated,
“Ling Rinpoche is not only my root guru in this life, but in life after life
he will be my root guru caring for me with compassion until I attain Enlightenment.”
The 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche (1903 – 1983)
Thupten Lungtok Namgyal Thinely, the 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche, was one of the most
renowned and qualified masters of the 20th Century. His students included masters
from all four Tibetan Buddhist schools. He was very learned and an accomplished writer,
poet and expert on grammar. In 1965 Ling Rinpoche was appointed the 97th Ganden Throne
Holder and held the position as the head of the Gelug school for 19 years, longer
than any other occupant of this throne.
Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was born in 1903 not far from Lhasa in Kyisho, a place
known as an abode of Cakrasamvara and his consort. After only 12 years of study
at Drepung Loseling Monastic University, he received a Geshe Lharampa degree
at 21 years old. Rinpoche served as disciplinarian and Abbot of Gyuto Tantric
Monastery, before serving as the 14th Dalai Lama’s tutor. He fled with His Holiness
from Tibet in 1959 and lived in India for the remainder of his life.
Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche gave many public and private teachings and initiations
throughout his life in Tibet, India, Europe and North America. He passed away
in Dharamsala, India at the age of 81. Rinpoche’s consciousness remained in his body
after he died in the clear light meditation on the mind of death for 13 days.
The 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche had a reserved disposition and was known as a deep thinker
and modest man, who hid his great qualities. He approached everything he did with great
effort and kindness. Rinpoche was always content, relaxed and precise with everything
he did, including giving very clear directions. He did not have much interest in the gifts
he received from disciples, but was always pleased when someone arrived with rare texts.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama remembers, “It was the nature of the precious tutor
to be reserved. He was not prone to sudden displays of happiness and sadness. However,
whenever he was aware of a living being in distress, such as hearing the cries of a dog
being beaten, his eyes would well up and he would say, “Ah, poor thing!” This was
a sign that inside he possessed the quality of great compassion.”
Tutor to the 14th Dalai Lama
Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche spent many years teaching His Holiness the 14th Dalai
Lama. As his Senior Tutor, Ling Rinpoche also assisted him with private highest
yoga tantra meditation retreats. His Holiness recollects, “He took primary responsibility
for my care and upbringing. In the beginning when I was six years old, I was really
scared of him and learned to recognize the sound of his footsteps, which made
my heart miss a beat. But in the end I developed a very good relationship and he became
my closest confidant up until his death in 1983. He taught me reading, memorization
of prayers and trained me from elementary logic through the complete study of the five
great treatises. He also gave me Bhikshu ordination, Bodhisattva vows, tantric initiations,
as well as other branches of knowledge such as Sanskrit and poetry.”
Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche encouraged His Holiness to study all Buddhist traditions.
He gave him many key lineages, including the Lamrim Chenmo and Kalachakra.
Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was a root son and heart disciple of Khensur Dorje Chang Rinpoche,
an important Kalachakra lineage holder. He made a promise to him before he passed
to ensure the Kalachakra tradition would be preserved and flourish in these degenerate
times, since it’s a very powerful practice. When Ling Rinpoche gave the Kalachakra
initiation to the Dalai Lama in the Potala Palace, it was unusual he was very emotional
while he conferred it.
Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche accompanied His Holiness when he traveled on a state
visit to China in 1954 and to India in 1956 to commemorate the 2,500th anniversary
of the Parinirvana of Sakyamuni Buddha. When His Holiness was encouraged not to return
to Tibet, Ling Rinpoche encouraged him to return. The advice did not seem realistic
at the time, but in the end was right. His Holiness has stated he felt Ling Rinpoche
was clairvoyant, even though he was humble and did not say how he knew. Due to his
high realization, the Dalai Lama believed he had to follow his instructions. Yongzin Ling
Rinpoche also traveled with His Holiness, when he escaped Tibet in 1959, and then settled
in India with him. First in Mussoorie then Dharamsala in 1960, which became the
headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
The 6th Ling Rinpoche, Yongzin Ling Dorje Chang Jetsun Thupten Lungtok Namgyal
Trinley Palsangpo, was born in 1903 on the Yutok Drachen estate, which was owned
by the 10th Dalai Lama’s family. At the age of seven he was recognized
by the 13th Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatso, as the reincarnation of his tutor,
the 5th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche. Many Dharma Protectors, including the Nechung Oracle
and Gadong Oracle, gave clear and unmistakable prophesies about the reincarnation.
Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was formally enthroned at Garpa Hermitage outside
of Lhasa on the Dharma throne blessed by his previous incarnations.
The young boy lived there and at Ling Labrang in Lhasa until he was eight years old.
When asked how he played as a child, Ling Rinpoche explained, “I would often gaze out
from the roof of my residence. Other than that, I spent my time reading texts,
biographies, and so on.” He also enjoyed making clay models and playing a stone-throwing
game called Kings and Vassals.
The 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche entered Drepung Loseling Monastic University in Lhasa
when he was nine years old and began studying the traditional five topics of the Geshe
degree. After qualifying for the final Geshe examination at the unusually young age
of twenty-one, he received second position in 1924 among the Geshe Lharampas during
the annual Lhasa Monlam Chenmo Fesitval. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has explained, “In these debates no matter how difficult the topic was, Ling Rinpoche
responded at once with answers that would delight the wise, all the while with a smile
that sat naturally on his face and in a manner that was both gentle and conscientious.
In this way, his reputation of being learned, of moral integrity and of a compassionate
disposition grew extensively.” Later that year Ling Rinpoche entered Gyuto Tantric
Monastic University in Lhasa where he studied Tantra for one year, graduating in first position.
Throughout his life Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche continued to receive teachings
on Sutra and Tantra. He recited the name mantras of twenty-nine teachers, including
His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama, Phabongkha Rinpoche, Büldü Rinpoche, Regent
Takdrak Rinpoche, Khangsar Rinpoche, and Chone Lama Rinpoche.
The 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche gave his first public teaching in 1930, when he was 27 years
old. He taught a classic Lamrim text at Thosam Dargye Ling Mondastery in southern Tibet.
Since his lineage is regarded as an emanation of the Yamantaka deity, every year for over
40 years Rinpoche was requested to give this initiation and teachings on its generation
and completion stages. As a result, Yamāntaka initiations and teachings were conferred
all over Tibet and India, as well as a few in the West. Audiences would often number over 1,000.
Yongzin Ling Rinpoche and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s junior tutor Trijang Rinpoche
were invited to Switzerland in 1968 to consecrate the new Chokhor Ling Monastery
in Zurich. The two tutors travelled to Germany, England, and France in response
to invitations and gave many teachings and initiations for over six months. Yongzin
Ling Rinpoche visited the West again in 1980 after many requests. He taught
for over four months in France, Italy and Switzerland before coming to the United
States and Canada. Rinpoche gave the first Yamantaka initiation conferred in New York
City and composed a prayer for the Dharma to flourish in the West. (Prayer)
Yongzin Ling Rinpoche’s last extensive public teaching was on the Lamrim Chenmo,
the Great Treatise on the Graduated Path to Enlightenment. It was given over
three weeks in 1983 to an audience of 2,000 at Sera Monastery in Bylakuppe,
South India. His last public teaching was a five-day discourse in March 1983
on the Four Mindfulnesses. It was given to a group of over 100 Indian, Western
and Tibetan students and was followed by Avalokitesvara and Amitayus initiations
to an audience of 1,000 at Tibet House, New Delhi, India.
Illness and Passing
The 6th Yongzin Ling Rinpoche suffered a serious stroke on September 5, 1983
in Dharamsala, India. In spite of his grave illness and the severity of his condition,
he was lighthearted and did not complain at all. Many people from all over the world
came to Dharamsala to offer prayers for his long life. Rinpoche passed away
a few months later on December 25th. His consciousness remained in his body
until January 7, 1984, while he meditated on the clear light nature of the mind
of death. None of the usual signs of death, such as odor or change in body color,
occurred during the 13-day meditation. His body remained fresh and luminous.
Shortly before his consciousness left the body, a rainbow occurred around the moon
and very large snowflakes fell that looked like flowers.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama composed a prayer for the swift return of his unmistaken
reincarnation. Because Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche was a unique and peerless lama,
His Holiness asked that his remains be preserved through a long and traditional process
of mummification. An American sculptor, who was a student of Ling Rinpoche, created
a sculptured likeness of him to cover the mummified body. His Holiness consecrated
the body and keeps the statue in his private temple in Dharamsala. An eight-foot gold
and copper Bodhi stupa, containing Rinpoche’s teeth, was also constructed and now stands
in Drepung Loseling Monastery’s prayer hall.