The first incarnation of Lelung Rinpoche, Lhodrak Namkha Gyeltsen (1326-1401), was the teacher of Je Tsongkhapa the founder of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1395, Je Tsongkhapa first received teaching from Lhodrak Namkha Gyeltsen. Lhodrak Namhka Gyeltsen's teachings spread throughout all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
The current Lelung Rinpoche is trying to preserve the Thirteen Deities Empowerment and the tradition of Namkha Gyeltsen's teachings. The second Lelung Rinpoche, Jedrung Gendun Tashi (1486-1559) studied at Tashi Lhunpo monastery with the Second Dalai Lama and he became the teacher of the Third Dalai Lama. It is feared that his written teachings may have been lost, since they have not been located since the monastery was destroyed. The search for these works continues, however.
The Third Lelung Rinpoche, Jedrung Tenpa Gyatso (1560-1625) was invited to Mongolia in 1584 and was requested to give teachings to the king. He later received an invitation to travel to Peking and the 14th Emperor of the Ming Dynasty,Wan Lee, also requested teachings from him. When he returned to Tibet, he became the teacher of the fourth Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, Panchen Logsang Chogyen. The hero of the Lelung lineage is Pema Zhepai Dorje, the Fifth Lelung Rinpoche.
Today, the Lelung teachings are upheld by the current 11th Lelung Rinpoche. The main themes or topics that form the heart of the Lelung teachings — and which are at the heart of all authentic Buddhist teachings, such as the Four Noble Truths and the The Two Truths including the following:
- Introduction of Buddhist teachings
- Taking refuge in the Three Jewels
- Difficulty in finding precious human life
- Impermanence of human life
- Understanding the suffering nature of samsara
- Cause and effect
- Past and future lives
- Universality of Buddha nature
Lelung Ripoche is currently teaching on the topics above. In the future, he will also teach on general Vajrayana, Heruka, Khandro Sangwa Yeshe, and, if requested, other teachings he received from his masters.