Kyabjé Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche (Tib. གདུང་སྲས་ཕྲིན་ལས་ནོར་བུ་ ) was a major modern teacher in the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and patron of the Vajrayana Foundation. He was the eldest son of Dudjom Rinpoche, the former head of the Nyingma lineages, and also the father of Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche and Dungse Garab Rinpoche. His association with the Dudjom Lineage is a long one: he is held to be the incarnation of Tulku Drime Oser, who was one of seven sons of Dudjom Lingpa (sGas-gter bDud-‘joms Gling-pa Khrag-‘thung Nus-ldan rDorje 1835-1904). He also was considered to be an emanation of Longchen Rabjam, the great 14th-century Nyingma scholar and siddha who composed the Seven Treasuries. He died in California on December 26, 2011, according to the Tibetan Lunar Calendar the 2nd[clarification needed] day of the 11th month of the Iron Rabbit year.
Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche was born in 1931. His father was the renowned Nyingma Buddhist master Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje, and his mother was Kusho Tseten Yudron. In his youth in Tibet, he studied for nine years at Mindrolling Monastery, one of the six major monasteries of the Nyingma school in Tibet, and received many teachings from many great saints throughout the region, besides his own father. In the mid 1950s, Rinpoche left Tibet at the onset of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Having fled his homeland, he spent some time in Bhutan, where his sons were born. There he served as the chief architect of the Thimphu Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 under the guidance of his father, to honor the memory of the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–72). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, after spending a number of years in New York City, Thinley Norbu Rinpoche sought out a quiet place for practice in the countryside of the east coast of the United States. After a long search, in 1991, under some auspicious circumstances, Rinpoche chose some land in the rolling hills of upstate New York and named it Kunzang Gatshal, Always Noble Joyful Park. For the next twenty years, Kunzang Gatshal served as Rinpoche's primary residence and focal point of Dharma activity. Rinpoche gave immeasurable teachings to disciples on this land, which was visited by other great Rinpoches including Kyabje Penor Rinpoche, Kyabje Dodrup Rinpoche, and more. In the mid-1990s, Rinpoche built a temple on the land, personally directing all aspects of the construction and design until every statue and offering had been set. At around the same time, Rinpoche founded a school for young children to learn pure Dharma tradition and practice, White Lotus School, which he looked after with particular care. Since Rinpoche's death in 2011, Kunzang Gatshal has been guided by Rinpoche's sons, Dungse Garab Rinpoche and Dungse Jampal Rinpoche, Rinpoche's other family members and senior disciples, and others.
During his exile in the West he wrote a number of books including:
- (1984-1989) ཨོ་རྒྱན་འཇིགས་མེད་ཆོས་ཀྱི་བདན་པོ། (Patrul Rinpoche) The Practice of the Essence of the Sublime Heart Jewel, Meditation and Action, The Propitious Speech from the Beginning, Middle and End (in English and Tibetan) Translated by Thinley Norbu New York, NY: Jewel Publication House. ISBN 0-9607000-6-4.
- (1985) The Small Golden Key to the Treasure of the Various Essential Necessities of General and Extraordinary Buddhist Dharma. Translated by Lisa Anderson (Second Edition) New York, NY: Jewel Publishing House ISBN 0-9607000-2-1
- (1982) Magic Dance: The Display of the Self-Nature of the Five Wisdom Dakinis. ISBN 0-9607000-0-5
- (1992) White Sail: Crossing the Waves of Ocean Mind to the Serene Continent of the Triple Gems. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 0-87773-693-6
- (1997) Welcoming Flowers from Across the Cleansed Threshold of Hope: An Answer to the Pope's Criticism of Buddhism. New York, NY: Jewel Publication House. ISBN 978-0-9607000-5-9
- (2006, 2008) A Cascading Waterfall of Nectar. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-1-59030-526-3
- (2013) The Sole Panacea: A Brief Commentary on the Seven-Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche That Cures the Suffering of the Sickness of Karma and Defilement. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-1559394390
- (2015) A Brief Fantasy History of A Himalayan: Autobiographical Reflections. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-1611802054
- (2015) Sunlight Speech That Dispels the Darkness of Doubt: Sublime Prayers, Praises, and Practices of the Nyingma Masters. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-1570622441