A Tribute to Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche

The role of great Dharma masters to protect and uphold the pure Dharma has been particularly significant through the turmoil of the past decades, where we witnessed the exile of Tibetan communities from their homeland as well as the internal disharmony surrounding Dorje Shugden’s practice. Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche is one such great master who has dedicated his entire existence to turning the Wheel of Dharma consistently and sincerely.


Venerable Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche was born in Eastern Tibet in 1948. H.H. Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang recognized the young boy as the 4th reincarnation of his lineage, leading to his enthronement at the age of 6 in Sera Monastic University.

Yongyal Rinpoche studied and mastered the five major topics of Buddhist philosophy for more than 20 years and subsequently was awarded the highly respected Geshe Lharampa degree, the equivalent of a doctorate degree of the highest honor, when he was 32 years old.

Yongyal Rinpoche then completed his tantric studies at the prestigious Gyüme Tantric University, and received key oral transmissions and initiations from some of the most illustrious lamas including Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama.

Staying true to Lama Tsongkapa’s unsurpassed lineage, Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche is thus a living treasure vase of Dharma wisdom and the primary holder of the precious Ganden Oral Tradition. All things manifest for a reason and as history unfolds, we have witnessed how Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche played a vital role in protecting, upholding and spreading Buddha’s teachings over the past few tumultous decades, as chaos hit Tibetan Buddhist communities around the world with the events of 1959 and the implementation of the Dorje Shugden ban.

As Tibetan Buddhism struggled to regroup and rebuild after the fall of Tibet, Yongyal Rinpoche was a beacon of hope and strength in the monastic community, tirelessly teaching at Sera Monastery in India for 14 years. After accepting many requests from his home monastery, Yongyal Rinpoche went to Eastern Tibet in 1993 where he taught and gave initiations to countless spiritual aspirants for two years. Rinpoche has also given teachings tours in other parts of the world, including Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and America.

Thus it came as no surprise that Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche was elected as the first Abbot of Serpom Monastery in 2008, when the monks of Pomra Khangtsen separated from Sera Mey Monastery so that they could continue with their practice of Dorje Shugden in safety and peace, keeping pure samaya with their Gurus.

Under Yongyal Rinpoche’s leadership, Serpom Monastery has grown in leaps and bounds since its difficult beginnings, and have since established many key initiatives that contribute towards the preservation of Tibetan Buddhism. Amongst these are the Serpom Buddhist Education Development Department established in 2008, which is responsible for monastic education and examinations. The Serpom Health Point was also set up in the same year to provide free medical care for the monks who are often denied such services from the surrounding community. The Serpom Thoesam Norling School was established in 2009 to equip young monks with modern education such as Tibetan culture, Literature, English, Mathematics and Science, amongst others.

Over the years, Yongyal Rinpoche has quietly and steadily contributed towards the works and lives of many other great masters, for instance:

  • In 2004, Yongyal Rinpoche officiated at the cremation ceremony of Sermey Khensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche. It was also Yongyal Rinpoche who inspected the Dung Srek Kang (burning house) and witnessed the sindura powder that formed.
  • In 2008, Yongyal Rinpoche along with Kyabje Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche officiated the hair-cutting and final enthronement ceremony of the young incarnation of Domo Geshe Rinpoche
  • In 2011, Yongyal Rinpoche was to give novice monk vows to the current incarnation of Zemey Rinpoche in Chengdu, China but respectfully requested Gaden Trisur Lungrik Namgyal who was present to give the vows instead.
  • In 2012, Yongyal Rinpoche conferred novice monk vows on the current incarnation of Domo Geshe Rinpoche in Shar Gaden Monastery, India.
  • At the request of Kyabje Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche, Yongyal Rinpoche ordained the former Resident Director Rae Barkley (Ani Tsering Lhamo) of Trijang Buddhist Institute.

In 2010, Yongyal Rinpoche founded the Lamrim International Dharma Center in California. Rinpoche is currently based in the USA and is listed as a teacher for many established American Buddhist centers including Dagom Gaden Tensung Ling Buddhist Monastery in Indiana and Gadenpa Buddhist Center in New York. Yongyal Rinpoche is also the guru of many up-and-coming lamas such as Venerable Achok Rinpoche, who recently gave a series of teachings and oral transmission of Lama Tsongkapa and his two disciples at Serpom Monastery in conjunction with the month of Saga Dawa. Imparting the Dharma to future generations of Dharma teachers is the most fundamental and effective method to ensure that the Dharma remains whole and unbroken and Yongyal Rinpoche is doing exactly that.

Yongyal Rinpoche continues to uphold his practice of the precious Protector, Dorje Shugden despite the difficulties and dangers during the present time.

All of us at DorjeShugden.com make this virtual offering of a butterlamp to the incomparable master, His Eminence Yongyal Rinpoche, requesting him to remain for another 1,000 years to continue turning the wheel of Dharma and benefiting countless beings.

More about Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche

Yongyal Rinpoche with Zemey Rinpoche, another great master who was dedicated to Dorje Shugden to the end of his lifetime

Yongyal Rinpoche at the enthronement ceremony of Geshe Domo Rinpoche

Yongyal Rinpoche with Zawa Rinpoche, to whom Rinpoche gave strong support for the growth of Dharma

Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche with Achok Rinpoche and entourage

2nd from left: Zemey Rinpoche, center: Yongyal Rinpoche, 2nd from right: Geshe Wangchuk

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7 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. It is the beneficial works of these great masters that make them 1 of the 3 Jewels in Buddhadharma. I used to just accept the sangha members to be one of the 3 jewels but after reading various tributes written by dorjeshugden.com as well as understanding the hardship the monks have to go through to uphold the teachings of Lord Buddha, I begin to grasp with deeper significance why they are precious jewels and must be treasured and supported.

    Great Dharma teachers like Yongyal Rinpoche are the direct links between our enlightenment and the Buddha as well as Dharma. The Guru’s importance is not caused by the Guru himself/herself. Instead, it is caused by our own karma whereby we are not able to receive teachings directly from the Buddhas. This is one of the fundamental reason why we treat our Gurus to be more vital to us in our Dharma pursuit, even more important that the Buddha.

    Realizing how important and precious the great Dharma masters are, it saddens me that we create so much additional obstacles to their work with unnecessary man-made problems like the Dorje Shugden ban. Calling ourselves Buddhist, we should at the very least not hinder the growth of the Dharma if we are unable to contribute positively to it.

    From this tribute, another core factor I identify that makes Yongyal Rinpoche a master of our time is his dedication to ensure the continuation of the lineage by teaching and nurturing the next generation of High Lamas such a Domo Geshe and Zawa Rinpoche.

    I pray that the work of Yongyal Rinpoche and all the great masters prosper swiftly and without obstacles. May the lineage be protected and grow in their wisdom and compassion!

  2. We truly rejoice for the Kyabjye Yongyal Rinpoche, though I have not gleaned much information about this lama’s previous incarnation the fact he is doing so much beneficial works can mean that the future is certainly bright for this Rinpoche.

    We look forward to his future dharma works in benefitting students and teachers alike.

  3. Rejoice to see that another lineage holder continue to spread and turn the wheel of dharma. All of us should pray hard that should more and more lineage holders continue to come back to turn the wheel of dharma and may the dharma forever flourish and grow many more years until the samsara end. Only the lineage holders continue to come back to teach shall bring hope to us and we can be liberated ourselves from the samsara. Truly rejoice and shall continue pray.


  5. It is very inspiring to read about the works of Great Masters like Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche. To take a stand to practice Dorje Shugden openly in the midst of so much drama, unfair treatments and even violence to practitioners, is not an easy path to take on. The whole world looks at you to fail in such circumstances. Yet he has risen above it and has shown positive results through his determination and pure faith. Truly rejoice for this great master and all the DS practitioners !

  6. I prostrate in reverence to Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche, this most illustrious and erudite scholar and Master of Je Tsongkhapa’s Lineage, who has been the beacon of great hope and strength to the monastics, both in Sera Mey and later the Shar Gaden Monastery, where he became abbot in 2008.

    Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche worked tireless to protect and uphold the pure Dharma through the tumultuous years of 1959 and, thereafter, the imposing of the ban on Shugden practice. All he wanted was the peace, harmony n the stability of the Buddhist and monastic communities, wherever he was.

    That Serpom Monastery stands strong today as a haven for monastics, who ,out of pure Guru Devotion , did not abandon their Shugden practice, is due largely to the efforts of great beings like Kyabe Yongyal Rinpoche.

    You are truly a source of inspiration to all who practice Shugden, Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche, with your courage and sheer determination. I humbly fold my hands to you.

  7. It is inspiring to read of such great, illustrious and erudite masters. Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche has given his life to Dharma and service to sentient beings.

    Within a lifetime to see the Tibetans escaping to India, to regroup and rebuild the monasteries since the escape, then having to bear witness to the segregation of the Tibetans among themselves and redo again all that was done before must be very trying for this master. He has shown what real lamas are made of . He has regrouped the Shugden monks under Serpom Monastery and unwaveringly help it grow.

    I humbly fold my hand to you. Please turn the Wheel of Dharma until Samara’s end for the benefit of sentient beings.

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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