Although each person of Mindrolling contributed
in many ways, the lineage has passed down
through two main branches:

The Tri Rab known as Trichen lineage, or throne holder
The eldest son assumes the title of 'Trichen'

The Khen Rab, or vinaya holder
A younger brother becomes the 'Khenchen'

The Trirab
Throne Holder of the Trichen Lineage
The Khenrab
Vinaya Holder of Teachings and Disciplines
Previous Minling Trichens
  1. Tri Chögyal Terdag Lingpa
    (Rigzin Jurme Dorje)
  2. Tri Pema Jurme Gyatso
  3. Tri Gyalsay Rinchen Namgyal
  4. Tri Jurme Pema Tenzin
  5. Tri Jurme Thrinley Namgyal
  6. Tri Jurme Pema Wangyal
  7. Tri Jurme Sange Kunga
  8. Tri Jurme Yidzhin Wangyal
  9. Tri Jurme Dechen Chogdrub
  10. (Since there were no sons, the daughter Jetsun Chimed Deden Drolma married the great master Tristsab Pema Wangchen who became the Regent)
  11. Tri Jurme Dondrub Wangyal
  12. Tri Jurme Kunzang Wangyal

His Holiness the XIth Mindrolling Trichen

The 11th Mindrolling throne holder, Trichen Jurme Kunzang Wangyal was born to the 10th Mindrolling Trichen Jurme Dondrub Wangyal and Yum Dawa Drolma [his mother] on the eighteenth day of the first lunar month of the iron sheep year. His Holiness received extensive teachings and empowerments from many exceptional Tibetan masters. For instance, Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodro, Sechen Kongtrul the great, Minling Chung Rinpoche, Minling Khen Rinpoche, Sechen Rabjam Rinpoche, Dordzin Namdrol Gyatso, Dordzin Dechen Choedzin and Gelong Kunzangla are some of the renowned masters with whom he studied.

His Holiness’ root guru was Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö from whom he received the precious instructions on the Guhyagarbhatantra and its various commentaries. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche proclaimed His Holiness as having greatly excelled in the understanding and practice of these precious teachings and instructed him to teach it eleven times to fortunate and worthy students in future.

After studying many years with great Tibetan Buddhist masters, Rinpoche spent more than 14 years in retreats, accomplishing many practices. Among wondrous signs he composed many teachings and discovered the terma of Jigten Wangchuk Pema Garwang, the Great Compassionate One.

After the parinirvana of his father, the 10th Mindrolling Trichen, Rinpoche began fulfilling his responsibilities as the next throne holder, although the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 and its consequent circumstances obstructed his official enthronement. At the request of his sangha and family members, His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen escaped Tibet at the age of 29. Rinpoche spent some time in Bhutan and then traveled on to India. He met and lived with the great master His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, who had been a friend to the 10th Mindrolling Trichen.

H.E. Minling Chung Rinpoche

Chung Rinpoche became the regent in Tibet during the minority of Minling Trichen Rinpoche. After the tragedies of the cultural revolution, he worked hard to revive the Mindrolling tradition by repairing the monastery and giving teachings and transmissions. His brother was Khenchen Ngawang Khyentse Norbu who bestowed full ordination to him and he was one of the teachers of the late Mindrolling Trichen.

In 1962, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche and His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche performed the formal enthronement ceremony of His Holiness as the XIth Mindrolling Trichen in the presence of many renowned teachers and dignitaries at the Zangdok Palri Monastery in Kalimpong. In Kalimpong, while working closely with H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, H.H. the 16th Karmapa, H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and others, Rinpoche actively participated in establishing the Dharma in India. He organized many great assemblies, initiations and teachings.

In 1976 Rinpoche moved to Dehra Dun and took his seat as the head of the Mindrolling Monastery in exile where he continued to benefit sentient beings by turning the wheel of Dharma. His presence in the world inspired others to maintain the selfless and compassionate pure path. His efforts had mostly concentrated on propagating the vision and advice of the great Dharma King Chögyal Terdag Lingpa: to ensure the purity of the teachings and to maintain the samaya. Renowned within the Tibetan community as an emanation of Padmasambhava, His Holiness the XIth Mindrolling Trichen was revered and respected throughout the Buddhist world as a great Mahasiddha and one of the great accomplished masters of this century. Trichen Dorje Chang, as he was known to many, lived with his family and the Mindrolling Sangha in Dehra Dun until his parinirvana on February 9, 2008.

Previous Minling Khenchens

Mindrolling is a monastery that has a line of vinaya holders who bestow the precepts on the monks. The Khenrab is this line of vinaya holders. The Khenchens have always been renowned scholars and exponents of the Dharma from Gyalsay Tenpai Nyima through all the Minling Khenchens.
  1. Khenchen Gyalsay Tenpai Nyima
  2. Khenchen Lochen Dharmashri
  3. Khenchen Ogyen Tenzin Dorje
  4. Khenchen Sangnag Tenzin
  5. Khenchen Ogyen Choephel
  6. Khenchen Rigzin Zangpo
  7. Khenchen Kunga Tsultrim Dorje
  8. Khenchen Ngawang Khentse Norbu
  9. Khenchen Khyenrab Gyatso

His Eminence the IXth Minling Khenchen Rinpoche

Being born in 1968 into the Mindrolling lineage of Tibet, the Venerable Jigmey Namgyal, now known as Khenchen Rinpoche, is the current lineage holder of the Khenrab branch of the Mindrolling tradition. He has received instruction from His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, His Eminence Trulshig Rinpoche, Tulku Ugyen Rinpoche, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Khenchen Rinpoche presides over the administration, education, and disciplines at Mindrolling's Ngagyur Nyingma College. Khenchen Rinpoche is the Vice President of the Great Nyingma Monlam Organization and founder of the Eastern Sun Group.

Under the direction of His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen and the guidance of the Most Venerable Trulshig Rinpoche, Khenchen Rinpoche with unceasing compassion and tireless activity is engaged in nurturing the Dharma and preserving the lineage of Mindrolling. More information is available in Khenchen Rinpoche's biography.

The IInd Mindrolling Khenchen Lochen Dharmashri

(1654-1717) Lochen Dharmashri was born into a family (the Nyod lineage) in which there was a long tradition of great Buddhist teachers. His father, Sangdag Trinley Lhundrup had studied with more than thirty gurus, and his elder brother, first Mindrolling Trichen Terdak Lingpa, was a great master and tertön (treasure master). Lochen Dharmashri received the Refuge and Bodhicitta Vows from Terdak Lingpa, who was his principle guru. At the age of twelve, Dharmashri received the empowerment of Rigdzin Thugthig (The Heart Essence of the Vidyadharas) from Terdak Lingpa, due to which his mind matured, and the pratimoksha and bodhicitta vows which he later received arose as the essence of the discipline of secret mantra.

When Dharmashri was fifteen, he received novice monastic vows from the Fifth Dalai Lama, from whom he also received full ordination when he reached the age of twenty. Fulfilling the instruction of the Dalai Lama, he later received the pure lineage of the Lower Tibetan Vinaya of the Nyingma. This was the Vinaya lineage from Kham which had survived the persecution of the buddhadharma by King Langdharma; Dharmashri became a great preserver of this tradition, widely propagating its explanation and practice.

He and his elder brother, Terdak Lingpa, both sought out the great doctrine holders of the time, and received an enormous number of transmissions on an equally vast number of topics. Lochen Dharmashri became particularly renowned as a great scholar of his time.

The depth and breadth of his learning was truly impressive: among the subjects he mastered were ceremony and ritual, Indian and Chinese astrology and divination, the chants and dances of the Nyingma lineage, Vinaya, Abhidharma, Prajnaparamita, as well as the the complete collection of the Nyingma tantras. In addition, he completely mastered all branches of linguistic skill, including grammar, prose, and poetry. Lochen Dharmashri authored one of the most famous treatises of the Nyingma School, the Lochen Kabum. These twenty four volumes of his collected works begin with his unprecedented writings on the intentional meaning of The Sutra Which Gathers All Intentions (Dupa mdo) and the Magical Net (Gyutrul Drawa), in the form of great commentarial expositions. His commentaries on the Guhyagarbha Tantra - the Sangdag Gongyen and the Sangdag Shelung - are famous for their clarity and eloquence. His teaching activity was also inconceivably vast. It is said that Lochen Dharmashri taught all of the subjects, the empowerments, transmissions and oral instructions, which he had studied not less than three of four times each. He gave full ordination to appproximately five hundred monks, and from the time he was forty-eight until the time he was sixty-four, he taught the Guhyagarbha Tantra continuously to about sixty students.
Dungsay Dalha Rinpoche
Son of His Holiness the 11th Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche
Born and Resides in Tibet; Studied in Tibet and India

Dungsay Dalha Gyaltsen, the son of His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen and Yum Sonam-la (his mother), was born in Tibet in 1959 while His Holiness was in the Gesar retreat, so he was named Dalha Gyaltsen. When His Holiness had to flee Tibet due to the Chinese invasion, Yum Sonam-la and the young Dungsay Dalha Gyalsten were unfortunately not able flee with His Holiness.

While growing up in Tibet, Dungsay Rinpoche studied under many qualified Teachers and his interests included Tibetan medicine. Years later, Dungsay Rinpoche traveled to Mindrolling Monastery in India and received numerous teachings and transmissions from some of the most accomplished great masters of that time.

These included His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen, His Holiness Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, His Holiness Trulshig Rinpoche and Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok.

Dungsay Rinpoche resides in Tibet where he returned after studying in India for many years.

The Jetsunma
Great Female Masters
Previous Minling Jetsunmas
  • Jetsun Mingyur Paldron
  • Jetsun Thrinley Chödron
  • Jetsun Tsewang Lhamo
  • Jetsun Tsering Paldron

Female Masters Within the Mindrolling Tradition

There has been another significant line within the Mindrolling tradition apart from the Trichen line of throne holders, and the Khenchen line of vinaya holders. This is the Jetsunma line, one of the remarkable features of Mindrolling. It is a line of many great female masters known as the Jetsunmas, daughters of various Mindrolling Trichens over the years. Beginning with Jetsun Mingyur Paldron, the daughter of Chögyal Terdag Lingpa, to Jetsun Tsering Paldron, the daughter of the present Mindrolling Trichen, Mindrolling has maintained a tradition of female teachers.

Terdag Lingpa stressed the need for women to be educated as practitioners and teachers. He directed his descendants to maintain the precious tradition that he himself exemplified by empowering and teaching his own daughter along with his two sons. His inspiration has continued and many women have been inspired to practice and teach within this lineage. Many great female masters have lived, practiced and taught within the Mindrolling lineage. This has been mostly in Samten Tse, which is the name of Mindrolling's nunnery. Unfortunately, due to the lack of written records, many dates and important information are missing. Yet, we hope that through sharing this history, it continues to inspire and encourage all practitioners. Given here are a few of the particularly luminous female teachers.

Jetsun Mingyur Paldron

Jetsun Mingyur Paldron was born in 1699 in the Earth Rabbit year as the daughter of Chögyal Terdag Lingpa and his consort, Phuntsok Paldron. By 13 years of age, she had received extensive instructions and teachings from her father and had accomplished many practices. At 14, she received the entire transmissions of Thug Je Chenpo De Sheg Kun Du from Lochen Dharmashri and mastered the Tsa-lung and Thigle practices. Jetsun Mingyur Paldron also received many profound teachings and instructions from other great masters of the day such as Kathog Rigzin Shabdrung Jurme Shenphen Wangpo, Shenyen Ogyen Rabten, Soton Thutob Namgyal, Duldzin Kunga Lodrö and Lopon Sonam Lodrö Gyaltsen. Consequently, she accomplished practices in both the old and new traditions.

Chögyal Terdag Lingpa passed into Parinirvana in 1714. In 1717, the Dzingar Mongols invaded Tibet and began destroying monasteries. Being in Central Tibet, Mindrolling was an easy target of this as well as other invasions. The Mongols razed the monastery and killed Lochen Dharmashri and Pema Jurme Gyatso, the eldest son of Terdag Lingpa. The younger son, Gyalsay Drinchen Rinchen Namgyal, managed to escape into Kham through the help of the family of the Khochhen Rinpoche. Jetsun Mingyur Paldron also escaped to Sikkim where she lived and taught for two years, turning the wheel of Dharma for many fortunate beings, firmly establishing the Dharma in Sikkim. Mingyur Paldron also founded the Pema Yangtse monastery there.

After the Mongols left Tibet, Jetsun Mingyur Paldron, who was then twenty years of age, and her younger brother Drinchen Rinchen Namgyal, returned to Mindrolling. They found it in ruins. Together, with their courageous and tireless efforts, they re-built the monastery and re-established the sangha, making Mindrolling once more the center of learning and transmission of the Dharma.
At the age of thirty-three, Jetsun Mingyur Paldron gave the empowerments, oral transmissions and explanations of the collected works of Chögyal Terdag Lingpa and the Nyingthig Yabzhi to over 270 disciples and thus insured the continuance of these precious transmissions. Jetsun Mingyur Paldron also established the Samten Tse nunnery a short distance from the Mindrolling monastery. It was there that she spent most of the remainder of her life, practicing, teaching and composing many precious texts and inspiring many to follow the path she embodied. Jestun Mingyur Paldron passed into Parinirvana at the age of 70 in 1769. The life of this great female master is an inspiration to all practitioners, especially women, to practice and realize the pure Dharma for the sake of all sentient beings.

Jetsun Thrinley Chödron

Jetsun Thrinley Chödron was born as the daughter of Tri Thrinley Namgyal. As an ordained nun, she received all the profound instructions from the lineage holders of Mindrolling and many great masters of the period. Jetsun Thrinley Chödron taught widely, contributing greatly to the preservation of the Dzogchen lineage, particularly the Semde and Longde transmissions. Jetsun Thrinley Chödron was one of the main teachers of the great Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.

Jetsun Tsewang Lhamo

Jetsun Tsewang Lhamo was born as the daughter of Tritsab Pema Wangchen and was the grand-aunt to the present Mindrolling Trichen. Jetsun Tsewang Lhamo's root guru was Jampal Dewei Nyima from whom she took her
ordination vows and received the highest mind instructions. Jetsunma also received profound instructions and teachings from Khenchen Khyentse Norbu and Chung Rinpoche. After the Cultural Revolution, Jetsunma lived with Chung Rinpoche until he passed away in 1979. In 1982, Jetsunma left Tibet for Mindrolling, India, with her younger sister Jetsun Dechen Wangmo and her grand-nephew, Khenchen Khenrab Gyatso, the present Minling Khenchen.

In Mindrolling, India, Jetsunma lived and practiced, inspiring many to follow the true path of practice. She exemplified the life of an ideal practitioner with her simple lifestyle and dedication to practicing the Dharma. Jetsun Tsewang Lhamo passed away on June 16, 1995 and remained in samadhi for three days. During these three days, many people from throughout the world came to pay their last respects to this great master and to receive her blessings. Thus, even Jetsunma's parinirvana became an example and inspiration for all practitioners, particularly to the monks, nuns, and lay-community of Mindrolling to practice the true Dharma and live a simple life.

Jetsun Tsering Paldron

Jetsun Tsering Paldron, or the Venerable Khandro Rinpoche, as she is widely known today, is the eldest daughter of the 11th Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche and heads Samten Tse Retreat Center. Rinpoche teaches widely in Europe and North America.

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