Miraculous Blessings: Ven. Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche

Katag on Harmica

The following is a story submitted by a student of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, John Pelletier expressing his experience with Ven. Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche on Thursday April 25th:

I want to share with you something very special that happened this past Thursday morning. As Rinpoche was getting ready to leave for New York, he spontaneously asked to visit our stupas, both the Enlightenment Stupa in the parking lot and the various stupas in the peace park.

As many of you already know, we have had numerous obstacles keeping full access to the stupas on the land across the street due to various seemingly external causes, such as floods and storms taking out bridges and making roads impassable.

We have had difficulty maintaining the stupas, and, as a matter of fact, we all know that we had allowed many to just fall into disrepair. Even after a great effort this past summer, some of the repairs have come to a standstill, again, because of seemingly external causes like the weather or lack of personnel.

Needless to say, this is distressing not only to Jetsunma, but to any being with the clarity to see reality as it is – anyone who can see the true internal reflection of what the external obstacle really is.

I didn’t witness the visit to the Enlightenment Stupa, but something very magical happened at the Migyur Dorje Stupa that is worth sharing. It’s hard to explain in words the profundity of what happened there Thursday morning, so I’ll just say what happened so you can contemplate this remarkable blessing that Rinpoche’s visit brought to us.

Rinpoche performed a blessing ceremony at the Migyur Dorje Stupa that included many prayers and mandala offerings, represented by the throwing of blessed rice in the traditional manner we have seen many times before, and circumabulations. Jetsunma later told us that he was praying to purify and apologize for the negativity caused by allowing the stupas, and the land in general, to have arrived at such a state.

The whole ceremony was very impromptu yet incredibly graceful and beautiful. At the end, to seal the blessing, a khatag was thrown into the air. I have never seen anything quite like this before in my life and this is the part, truly, that I wanted to share with everyone.

I would imagine that if you or I threw a khatag into the air at the Stupa, it may just kind of look like it was being thrown and ultimately land somewhere pretty low, maybe where the level where offerings are generally made. This wasn’t the case here at all.

What we saw was the khatag literally unfurling and taking flight through the air, waving as if it had wings, approaching and landing perfectly on the harmika, the square structure that rests under the spire. It was as if the Stupa itself had bent over to receive the khatag from Rinpoche.


As it landed, the air was still and everyone, including Rinpoche and his entourage, audibly gasped and rejoiced. This was indeed an uncommon event even for those who have seen this type of thing many times, again and again. My heart is filled with joy and my eyes filled with tears to relate the rarity of this type of purity in the world.

May we never forget the Buddhafield this land truly is and the inconceivably rare blessings it holds. May we do nothing but share and uphold this gift from our precious Guru, Jetsunma, and may we achieve the result of understanding the nature of the precious jewels we have in our midst. May we never let this blessing be forgotten. May none of these efforts be wasted.


Long Life Prayer for Yangthang Rinpoche

Long Life Prayer for Yangthang Rinpoche

Kunzang Jigmed Dechen Ödsal Dorje



Upholder of the early translation Heart-doctrine of Kuntuzangpo


By the strength of your fearless intention


And the great bliss of Padmasambhava’s blessing,


May the Vajra of Clear Light Live for a hundred aeons.

By request, this was written by Gyurmed Thegchog Tenp’i Gyaltshen, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

H.E. Venerable Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche is a highly revered Guru in the Nyingma School. He is known to be the embodiment of Vimalamitra, a Dzogchen Master regarded as the chief propagator of Buddhism in Sikkim. Rinpoche has successfully retrieved many Terma Buddhist scriptures which were secretly concealed by Guru Padmasambhava.  H.E. Ven. Yangthang Rinpoche was born in the Yangthang family in Sikkim in 1923. Rinpoche was recognized as the reincarnation of Terton Dorje Dechen Lingpa.

In November 1990, Ven. Yangthang Tulku came to KPC and bestowed the complete Ratna LIngpa cycle of revelations, along with the Nyingtik Yabshi. He was accompanied by Ven. Gyatrul Rinpoche.

It is not too late to register for his upcoming visit to KPC on April 23rd – don’t miss this rare and precious opportunity!

H.E. Ven. Yangthang Tulku

H.E. Ven. Yangthang Tulku is a highly revered Lama in the Nyingmapa Lineage of Tantrayana Buddhism.  He is known to be the embodiment of Vimalamitra, a Dzogchen Master regarded as the chief propagator of Buddhism in Sikkim. In his past life he was also the great terton Lhatsen Namkha Jigmed from Sikkim whose treasures are included in the Rinchen Terzod. But he is perhaps most well known as the reincarnation of Dorje Dechen Lingpa, the Tertön from Dhomang, who has successfully retrieved many Terma Buddhist scriptures which were secretly concealed by Padmasambhava. Only the truly accomplished Dharma practitioner prophesied by Padmasambhava, can reveal these sacred treasures.

At the very moment that Dhomang Terchen’s incarnation was born (1923) in Sikkim, all directions in the sky in Sikkim resounded in thunder, “I am here!” He was discovered exactly as described, born into the Yangthang family. This is why Rinpoche is known now as Yangthang Rinpoche. A second emanation was born in Sikkim and was brought up together with his older counterpart. When Yangthang Rinpoche was invited back to his monastery in Tibet, the younger emanation also insisted upon joining him. The two young boys departed with their party, playing and performing many miracles along the journey.

Upon returning to Dhomang Monastery both tulkus were put in the hands of Sogtrul Rinpoche and many other lamas at Dhomang. They were given the finest and best education with Khenpo Pema from the Palyul Mother Monastery as their personal instructor. Thus, both tulkus were able to fully complete all their studies. In addition to mastering the extensive training in practices of his lineage, Yangthang Rinpoche was completely trained in the Kangyur and Tangyur, and in the works of Longchenpa.

In Tibet, before the Cultural Revolution, Yangthang Rinpoche gave the entire Kangyur transmission and many other great empowerments. He became the head of Dhomang Monastery and carried out all the administrative duties personally.

After remaining in retreat for more than 20 years under harsh conditions, Ven. Yangthang Rinpoche moved to Pelling, West Sikkim in 1958. That same year, the Communist Chinese captured and killed Sogtrul Rinpoche and the younger tulku. In 1959, Yangthang Rinpoche fled Dhomang. He was later captured by the Chinese, and imprisoned for 22 years. While imprisoned, he helped many fellow prisoners who could not bear the hardship to die peacefully by performing P’howa, transferring their consciousness to Pure Lands. Though he witnessed and experienced much torture, he bears no resentment to his captors, only compassion. In fact, he became a spiritual advisor to some of the guards. When people express sympathy about his imprisonment, Rinpoche says that because of Dharma, his mind was freer in prison than worldly people experience in the best of circumstances.

Following the death of Mao Tse Tung he was released. He returned to Dhomang to find his monastery completely dismantled. He then obtained permission to go to Sikkim. As a simple yogi he traveled back and forth to Nepal and Bhutan, receiving transmissions and empowerments from His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and His Holiness Dodrubchen Rinpoche.

In 1985, while circumambulating the Great Stupa in Bodhanath, Yangthang Rinpoche met with Gyaltrul Rinpoche, who at that time was leading a group of his American students on pilgrimage to the sacred shrines of the Dharma. These two lamas had not seen each other in 26 years. Fleeing from the invading Communist Chinese, they had initially left Dhomang together but parted company at a fork in the road. One fork led Gyaltrul Rinpoche to freedom in India, the other led Yangthang Rinpoche to imprisonment. At the request of Gyaltrul Rinpoche, Yangthang Rinpoche first came to the U.S. in 1990. He gave many profound teachings and transmissions, and was enthusiastically welcomed wherever he taught. Yangthang Rinpoche returned to the U.S. for a second tour of teaching and transmission in 1997, and for a third tour in 2002. In between his travels to the United States, Europe and Asia, Rinpoche has gone back to his root temple, Dhomang Temple in Sichuan, China to rebuild and refurbish the dismantled temple.

Among the Tertons, exceptional manifestations have been given the title ‘Lingpa’ in acknowledgment of their remarkable qualities. Like Ratna Lingpa, Karma Lingpa, Chogyur Lingpa and others, Dorje Dechen Lingpa revealed many volumes of treasures and was an undisputed realized master, a manifestation of the wisdom and compassion of all the Buddhas. Moreover, Yangthang Tulku is of course also an emanation of Vimalamitra, just as Kyabje Penor Rinpoche was. Vimalamitra’s wisdom is inseparable from Guru Rinpoche’s, the source of the blessings of all the revealed treasures. Yanthang Rinpoche is known as a compassionate, humble, no-nonsense Dzogchen master and one of the principle lineage holders of the Nyingmapa Lineage. He is widely recognized for the quality and depth of his realization, the power of his attainment, and the purity of his transmissions.

Kyabje Pema Norbu Rinpoche, the 11th throne holder of Palyul Lineage, has pronounced that “There is no difference between myself and Yangthang Rinpoche.” Gyaltrul Rinpoche has stated that “Yangthang Rinpoche is the great achiever of Dharma, an extremely precious gem in this modern age.” Venerable Yangthang Rinpoche currently resides in West Sikkim.

References:  PathtoBuddha.org



Tibetan Schools and Palyul

Tibetan Buddhism has four main traditions:

Nyingma “the Ancient Ones” This is the oldest, the original order founded by Padmasambhava andSantaraksita.  Whereas other schools categorize their teachings into the three vehiclesThe Foundation VehicleMahayana and Vajrayana, the Nyingma tradition classifies them into nine vehicles, among the highest of which is known as Atiyoga or Dzogchen “Great Perfection”.  Hidden treasures (terma) are of particular significance to this tradition.

Kagyu “Lineage of the (Buddha’s) Word” This is an oral tradition, which is very much concerned with the experiential dimension of meditation. Its most famous exponent was Milarepa, an 11th century mystic. It contains one major and one minor subsect. The first, the Dagpo Kagyu, encompasses those Kagyu schools that trace back to the Indian master Naropa via MarpaMilarepa and Gampopa, and consists of four major sub-sects: the Karma Kagyu, headed by a Karmapa, the Tsalpa Kagyu, the Barom Kagyu, and Pagtru Kagyu. There are a further eight minor sub-sects, all of which trace their root to Pagtru Kagyu and the most notable of which are the Drikung Kagyu and the Drukpa Kagyu. The once-obscure Shangpa Kagyu, which was famously represented by the 20th century teacher Kalu Rinpoche, traces its history back to the Indian master Naropa via Niguma, Sukhasiddhi and Kyungpo Neljor.

Sakya “Grey Earth” This school very much represents the scholarly tradition. Headed by the Sakya Trizin, this tradition was founded by Khon Konchog Gyalpo, a disciple of the great translator Drokmi Lotsawa and traces its lineage to the Indian master Virupa. A renowned exponent, Sakya Pandita 1182–1251CE was the great grandson of Khon Konchog Gyalpo.

Gelug “Way of Virtue” Originally a reformist movement, this tradition is particularly known for its emphasis on logic and debate. Its spiritual head is the Ganden Tripa and its temporal one the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is regarded as the embodiment of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Successive Dalai Lamas ruled Tibet from the mid-17th to mid-20th centuries. The order was founded in the 14th to 15th century byJe Tsongkhapa, renowned for both his scholasticism and his virtue.

Within these, Kunzang Palyul Choling is Nyingma

There are six “Mother” Nyingma Monasteries:

  1. Katok Monastery, in east Tibet, was founded during the twelfth century, and expanded in 1656.
  2. Dorje Drak Monastery was founded in central Tibet, in 1659.
  3. Mindroling Monastery, in central Tibet, was established in 1676.
  4. Palyul Monastery, founded in east Tibet in 1665.
  5. Dzogchen Monastery, in east Tibet, established in 1685.
  6. Shechen Monastery founded in east Tibet, in 1735.

Within these monastic traditions, Kunzang Palyul Choling is Palyul.

Palyul Monastery — one of the Six “Mother” Nyingma Monasteries. It was founded in either 1632 or 1665 by Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab, a disciple of Terton Migyur Dorje, and Karma Chagmed. The monastery specializes in kama practices, the termas of Ratna Lingpa and Tulku Migyur Dorje (1645-67). The current head of Palyul Monastery is the Fifth Karma Kuchen.

The inspired masters who contributed to the teachings practiced within Palyul

To date, Palyul has had 12 throne-holders in its history.  According to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, while Nyingma is generally practiced as a Ngagpa tradition, within Palyul it has never been true. The Lineage Holders of Palyul have always been fully-ordained.

Important “elder statesmen” of Palyul, contemporaries and close senior students of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, are:

It is because of these pure Lineage teachers that we continue to have a pure unbroken stream of wisdom to guide us today to reveal our own enlightenment.

Sources include Wikipedia, Rigpa Wiki, and most of all Pathgate.org, who gave us permission to use their thangka images and biographies