Pulung Rinchen Ling

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Pulung Rinchen Ling (Wyl. pho lung rin chen lding) is a Karma Kagyü monastery in northern Powo, Tibet, which was founded by Gar Dampa Zhonnu Dorje (who appears in the Garchen Tulku Incarnation Line) in 1260. His disciple Pa Rinpoche served as its first abbot. It is considered a branch of Tsurphu Monastery in Central Tibet.[1][2]


Phulung lies on the banks of the Yarlung Chu, above the junction of the Yarlung Chu with the Potö Chu. Further south, the Potö Chu flows into the Parlung Tsangpo at the town of Kanam.[3]


Phulung Rinchen Ling was founded by Gar Drubchen (1180-1240) in 1240, just 63 days before his death.[4]

Gar Drubchen received empowerment from Gampopa’s disciple Phagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo and later became a close disiple of Drikung Kyobpa Jikten Sumgön, the founder of the Drikung Kagyü tradition. Hence, at its inception, Phulung Rinchen Ling belonged to the Drikung Kagyü school.

Gar Drupchen’s disciple Pa Rinpoche (Wyl. pha rin po che) (1222-1292), served as its first abbot. His main disciple, Lama Orgyen (Wyl. bla ma o rgyan) (1239-1313), succeeded him at Pulung Rinchen Ling. In its beginning, Phulung Rinchen Ling had a line of 42 head lamas after Gar Drupchen.

After that, ten Lamas of incarnate status beginning with Shatrul Künsang Gyatso (Wyl. shwa sprul kun bzang rgya mtsho) up to Karma Trinle Nyima (Wyl. karma phrin las nyi ma) were heading Pulung Rinchen Ling monastery.


The buildings comprised of a large assembly hall, that featured a reliquary on top of it containing representations of the deities of the Chakrasamvara mandala, and as innermost sanctuary, relics of Buddha Kashyapa. Below that, was a life-sized statue of Gar Drupchen and of Gyalwa Götsangpa, along with smaller statues of seven lineage holders. Furthermore, garment pieces of Tilopa, hair of Naropa, the skirt of Marpa, physical remains of Buddhas that had appeared earlier, relics of The Eighty-four mahasiddhas, the skull cup of king Senge Dra bearing the syllable A, a statue of Avalokiteshvara] made from the remaining wood of the Jowo Shakyamuni. In Phulung Rinchen Ling, there were different stupas dedicated to Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa and to the different lineage holders of the monastery. [5]


Becoming a Karma Kagyü monastery

After the passing of the 6th Shatrul, obstacles for the recognition of the 7th Shatrul had occurred. Word was sent to the Tai Situ of that time of Palpung Monastery in Kham, who ordered the fortified Dungchu temple, aka Dungchu Kar Lhakang, (Wyl. mdung chu mkhar lha khang), that had the purpose to tame the danger of floods from the Brahmaputra, to be restored. Around that time, ties of Phulung Rinchen Ling to Palpung were strengthened, as Palpung monastery had sent an officially appointed head lama to Phulung along with his two servants for a period of three years. Shatrul and Sangtrul (Sangs sprul), the second incarnate lama of Phulung Rinchen Ling continued their dharma activity during that time. As a result of this, to this day, Phulung Rinchen Ling became a branch of the Karma Kagyü, it’s reincarnated lamas being recognized by the Karmapa. [6]

Pulung Sangye as head of Pulung Rinchen Ling

Pulung Sangye, aka Garwang Sangye Dorje was one of the main residents of Pulung Rinchen Ling during the 20th cent. Tulku Dawa Rinpoche did a three-year retreat in Pulung Rinchen Ling, under the guidance of Garwang Sangye Dorje. [7]

Dudjom Rinpoche resided at Pulung Rinchen Ling in the 1930's

When Dudjom Rinpoche was thirty years old [1933-34], he resided at the hermitage of Ösel Tekchok Ling at Pulung Rinchen Ling. While there, he compiled two sadhanas ate the request of Garwang Sangye Dorje. There were based on the Damchö Gongpa Yongdü (Tib. དམ་ཆོས་དགོངས་པ་ཡོངས་འདུས་, Wyl. dam chos dgongs pa yongs ‘dus), 'Quintessence of All Dharma Realizations', that had been revealed by Rigdzin Düddul Dorje. The two sadhanas are called Rigpa Dzinpé Gong Gyen (Tib. རིག་པ་འཛིན་པའི་དགོངས་རྒྱན་, Wyl. rig pa ‘dzin pa’i dgongs rgyan), 'Heart Essence of the Vidyadharas', and Lamé Sangdrub Norbu Gyatsö Trinlé Lamkhyer Yangzab Tuk Kyi Tiklé (Tib. བླ་མའི་གསང་སྒྲུབ་ནོར་བུ་རྒྱ་མཚོའི་ཕྲིན་ལས་ལམ་ཁྱེར་ཡང་ཟབ་ཐུགས་ཀྱི་ཐིག་ལེ་, Wyl. bla ma’i gsang sgrub nor bu rgya mtsho’i phrin las lam khyer yang zab thugs kyi thig le), ‘Heart Drop and Secret Practice of the Lama’. He supplemented these sadhanas with various practice instructions manuals.[8].

Main Practices

The main lineages held were Mahamudra, Six Yogas of Naropa, Chakrasamvara, Vajravarahi.

Main Teachers

Among the main incarnation lines are:

  • The Gar Drupchen, the root incarnation of the Garchen tulkus in the Drikung lineage.
  • The Shatrul
  • The Sangtrul


  1. Presentation of Pulung Rinchen Ling on The Treasury of Lives.
  2. Among the alternative names & spellings are:
    • Polung Gön (Wyl. pho lung dgon)
    • Powo Polung Gön (Wyl. spo bop ho lung dgon)
    • Pulung Gön Womin Changchub Ling (Wyl. phu lung dgon ‘og min byang chub gling)
    • Pulung Chöding (Wyl. phu lung chos lding)
    • Rinchenpung Densa Womin Changchub Ling (Wyl. rin chen spungs gdsan sa ‘og min byang chub gling)
  3. Emeric Yeshe Dorje, The History of the Düdjom Tersar Lineage, forthcoming.
  4. Gar Drubchen is also known as Śākya Pel (Wyl. shakya dpal), Gar Dampa Chodingpa (Wyl. mgar dam pa chos sdings pa) and Gar Dampa Zhonnu Dorje (Wyl. mgar dam pa gzhon nu rdo rje).
  5. Phurbu rdo rje (1988), sPo bo lo rgyus, [History of Powo], Lhasa: Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang.
  6. Emeric Yeshe Dorje, The History of the Düdjom Tersar Lineage, forthcoming.
  7. Emeric Yeshe Dorje, The History of the Düdjom Tersar Lineage, forthcoming.
  8. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal, Light of Fearless Indestructible Wisdom, p197.

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