Born in Tibet, northwest of Lhasa, he also was the 97th Ganden Tripa and senior tutor to the 14th Dalai Lama. The Ganden Tripa is the spiritual head of the Gelugpa Sect, the largest sect in Tibetan Buddhism. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche was one of the four main disciples of Pabongka Rinpoche. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche was the Ganden Tripa for about 14 years. He served at the request of the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people for the longest period that anyone sat on the Ganden throne. Together with Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, he is considered to be root guru of the 14th Dalai Lama. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche died in 1983.
Prior to Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, three earlier incarnations of Ling Rinpoche were tutors for previous Dalai Lamas, including the 13th, the 12th and the 6th Dalai Lamas. Three incarnations of Ling Rinpoche were also Ganden Tripas. Over many years, the Ling Rinpoche incarnations founded many monasteries in Tibet and taught students in every sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Many of the monks in Ling Khangtsen come from these monasteries.
The current incarnation of Ling Rinpoche is the spiritual head and leader of Ling Khangtsen. He was born in India in 1985 and is studying at Drepung Loseling Monastic University, Mungod, Karnataka. He is known as Ling Choktul Rinpoche.