Lelung Rinpoche was born in 1970. When he was twelve years of age he visited Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and following Ling Rinpoche's advice, he went to study at Drepung Monastery. Two years later, he went to Dharamsala to receive teachings from H.H. the Dalai Lama. During this visit, His Holiness recognised him as being the 11th incarnation of Lelung Pema Zhepai Dorje.
Rinpoche returned to Drepung to continue his studies and at the age of twenty-four received a geshe degree, which is one of the highest degrees given in the Gelugpa tradition and is very rarely awarded to a student at such a young age.
In 1993 Rinpoche received the oral transmission of Khandro Sangwa Yeshe’s teachings. Rinpoche said, "Only one person was alive who held the complete oral transmission of Khandro Sangwa Yeshe, so with sincere respect and great joy I received all of the oral transmissions from him."
The Brief Life Story of His Eminence 11th Lelung Tulku Jedrung Tendzin Phüntsok Löden Rinpoche
The 11th Lelung Tulku Tendzin Phüntsok Löden Rinpoche was born in the 16th rabjung of the Iron-Dog year 1970. He is the son of father Lozang Tsering and mother Lozang Chötso. Since childhood he had visions of deities and lamas as well as many distinctive and wondrous signs.
He attended primary school until the third class after which he left for monastic education.
In the 16th rabjung of the Iron Bird 1981, seeking the audience of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he went to Dharamsala to receive a blessing. He then joined Trehor house within Drepung Loseling, one of the three great monasteries (Gelugpa seats) in the South of India.
As per the instructions of the Sixth Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche, Geshe Pedma Ludup took him under his wing and taught him reading and writing and so forth. He also attended regular school classes at the monastery.
In the 16th rabjung, 1984, in his 14th year as requested by his house, Kongpo Khangtsen in Drepung Loseling Monastery, HH Dalai Lama recognised him as the unmistaken former incarnation of Lelung Jedrung Tulku, one of the three principle incarnations of Tibet.
HH Dalai Lama looked upon him with esteem and consideration. He was enthroned at both Loseling’s Kongpo Khantsan and Loseling’s monastic college. Ling Gumbar Rinpoche Thupten Ngodup, as per the written instructions of HH Dalai Lama became the tutor of Lelung Tulku. Beginning with the five collected Buddhist texts, and gradually as he matured, he studied the main Buddhist texts. Furthermore, he also received teachings from teachers such as Geshe Menla Tsering and others. All his tutors were peerless and he received extensive teachings - hearing, learning and contemplating them extensively.
In 1993, when he was in his 23rd year, according to the wishes of HH Dalai Lama, he went to Tibet and received teachings on the Sangwa Yeshe cycle of teachings as well as others. Whilst receiving teachings, people of Lelung valley were rebuilding his predecessors monastery Olkha Tekchok Namdroling.
In 1994 in his 24th year, he successfully defended his thesis and obtained a Geshe degree from the major monastic centre of Drepung then he travelled abroad and undertook many virtuous activities for Buddha Dharma and for the sake of sentient beings.
In 1996, in his 26th year, he started learning the wide field of Tantric studies at Gyuto Tantric college. When he was there he was appointed and took responsibility as Khadé Geshe and carried a lot of duties as Geshe as well as a Lama.
He received many extensive and profound teachings, oral transmissions and instruction of both Sutra and Tantra from Sarma and Nyingma learned scholars and realised beings, considering them all teachers. They included; HH Dalai Lama, Denma Lochö Rinpoche, Pangnang Tulku Jampa Tsultrim, Dungkar Lozang Trinlé, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Minling Trichen Rinpoche and Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche amongst others, totalling over fifty.
In 1997, by emulating the examples of his predecessors, he entered Tantric practice.
In 2003 he established the Lelung Literature Preservation Centre in Dharamsala to research and search for the hagiographies, teachings and dharma cycles of his predecessors. After establishing this centre he managed to locate and obtain forty-six volumes which is gradually being printed into book form.
In 2006 for the sake of Buddha Dharma and to revive those dharma texts that are in decline and develop those that have survived, particularly focusing on Tsongkhapa’s teachings, Lelung Rinpoche convened an extensive discussion about the management and supervision of the Gedun Phacho Bhucho project at Norbulinka in Dharamsala.
He invited all the Abbots of the three seats; Sera, Drepung and Ganden, upper and lower Tantric colleges and so on. There were also ministers representing the Tibetan Government in attendance. For the meeting HH Dalai Lama also sent a written message of support and appreciation. After establishing the Gendun Phacho Bucho Project, empowerments, oral transmissions and instructions, commentaries, which were on the verge of decline, are now in the monastic colleges. The senior lamas teach and pass them onto the younger generation of monks.
This not a question of being able to resolve the issues of any one monastic estate or renovation of a mother monastery, but rather it is a project to revive the Buddha Dharma from the very foundations. In many ways, there is nothing more worthy and important in this century than this project.
Lelung Rinpoche is someone who has not only received and studied the oral transmission of the profound teachings of Vajrayana, but he also practices them in his daily life.
He has written the lineage of his predecessors in a book named “A Drop from The Marvelous Ocean of History of the Lelung lineage,” amongst others.
As for Lelung Zhepai Dorje, during the time of Buddha Shakyamuni he was the Bodhisattva Da Ö Shyönnu in India. Then he was the Incomparable Dwagpo Lharje (Gampopa). The first Lelung Jedrung was Lodrak Drupchen Lekyi Dorje (1326-1401) The 5th Lelung was Jedrung Losang Trinlé (1697-1740) and was prophesied to be Sangwa Yeshe’s doctrine-holder. Many learned and realised beings have successfully manifested.
The current Lelung Rinpoche’s predecessor, 10th Lelung Thupten Lungtok Chokyi Wangchuk (1909-1962), also joined Loseling College Drepung, after graduating in his studies and contemplation, he obtained the Geshe Lharampa degree. Towards the end of his life he went to Olkha and gave teachings to many karmically fortunate disciples. Whilst engrossed in the two stages of tantric meditative absorption (wyl: thugs dam), after the catastrophic times (Cultural Revolution) under the forceful occupation of the Red Chinese he passed into Nirvana.
When the current 11th Lelung Rinpoche first had an audience with HH Dalai Lama. After some time HH Dalai Lama bestowed a certificate of confirmation of his recognition of him of as the unmistaken incarnation of the previous Lelung.
He joined Drepung Loseling Monastery in Mundgod. He received and reflected on his teachings obtaining a Geshe degree. More recently since leaving Drepung he now spends time between Dharamsala and London undertaking enlightened activities for the sake of his Dharma centre and the Buddha Dharma.
The Lelung Jedrung lineage has recently turned 690 years since the 1st Lelung Namkha Gyaltsen (1326-1401) was born.