Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism

Yun Lin Temple


An Introduction to

Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism and Yun Lin Temple

Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism Lineage

Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism is one of the denominations of Buddhism. According to His Holiness the late Grandmaster Professor Lin Yun, founder and spiritual leader of the Fourth Stage of Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism, this tradition can be divided into five different stages of development.

The First Stage: Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism has its root in the indigenous Tibetan Bon religion which reaches back eighteen thousand years. This primitive Bon religion is known as the first stage of Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism

The Second Stage: Following the introduction of Buddhism from India to Tibet, it quickly flourished and became the dominant religion. With the passage of time, Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism evolved into four different main traditions: Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug, also known respectively in Chinese as the Red Sect, White Sect, Mixed Sect, and Yellow Sect. 

The Bon tradition of this second stage, known as Black Sect to most Chinese people, is the convergence of first stage Bon with Buddhism, through the interplay of many cultural and ritual influences between the two, which were gradually absorbed into each other.

The second stage is now represented by the Menri Bonpo Monastery located in  Solan, India.  His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, the 33rd Abbot of Menri Monastery, is the current supreme leader of Tibetan Bon religion. Menri Monastery has an envoy in the Department of Religion and Culture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s government in exile. The Bon religion is officially recognized as one of the five main traditions of Tibetan religion. 

Since the first root-seeking visit to Menri Monastery in 1985, His Holiness the late Grandmaster Lin Yun and Menri Monastery had shared a close relationship.  In 1998, both His Holiness the late Grandmaster Professor Lin Yun and Khadro Crystal Chu Rinpoche were enthroned by His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima. The enthronement signifies the recognition of the root connection between Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism and Tibetan Bon.

The Third Stage: As the four main traditions of Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism spread into China, Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug still retained their religious purity by maintaining its Esoteric Buddhist essence. Only the Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism absorbed some of the traditional Chinese philosophies and cultures, such as Taoism, Confucianism, Ying-Yang philosophy, Eclecticism, applications of I-Ching, applications of Ba-Gua, Theory of Ch’i, Feng Shui, holistic healing, divination, folklore, esoteric and  exoteric Buddhist teachings. These were all amalgamated into the essence for the formation and development of the third stage of Black Sect Esoteric Buddhist teachings. 

As a consequence, from the perspective of comparative religions, Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism in China is not a pure Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism, nor is  it considered traditional Buddhism.  From the perspective of comparative cultures, Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism encompasses the cultural inputs of India, Tibet, and China.

The Fourth Stage: Over the last four decades, His Holiness the late Grandmaster Lin Yun has successfully introduced Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism to the West and created a new synthesis.  By incorporating modern knowledge of medicine, physiology, psychology, architecture, ecology, the theory of colors, social sciences, along with theories established by His Holiness Lin Yun, such as the Theory of Ch'i, the Theory of Ling Particles, and the Theory of Multiple Causes and One Effect, transcendental and healing cures, and various meditation methods. His Holiness Lin Yun was able to clarify, expand and disseminate ancient Chinese wisdom to the West, such as Feng Shui, spiritual cultivation,  holistic healing, sacred transcendental cures, Chinese philosophies, and  folkloric cultures.

The Fifth Stage: His Holiness Grandmaster Professor Lin Yun passed away on August 11, 2010.  A few years prior to his passing, he appointed Khadro Crystal Chu Rinpoche as his successor - Her Holiness and the spiritual leader of the Fifth Stage of Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism, to carry on his legacy, teachings and the lineage. In early 2010, His Holiness the late Grandmaster Lin Yun had announced that Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism had already stepped into its Fifth Stage.


Yun Lin Temple

His Holiness Lin Yun was a native of Taichung, Taiwan. His original intention was to establish the first Fourth Stage Black Sect Esoteric Buddhist temple in his native Taiwan.


However, because of his extensive teachings in the United States, and the massive support of his many friends, disciples and students in this country, along with the maturing of much good karma, in 1986 His Holiness the late Grandmaster Lin Yun founded Yun Lin Temple in the well-respected academic city of Berkeley, California.  This is the first Fourth Stage Black Sect Esoteric Buddhist temple in the West. The California registered non-profit religious organization, also named Yun Lin Temple, was established in the early part of 1986. Her Holiness Khadro Crystal Chu Rinpoche has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Yun Lin Temple since its establishment.


In 1994, the Cultural Center of Yun Lin Temple was set up in Berkeley, California.


In 1996, the second temple of Fourth Stage of Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism, Lin Yun Monastery, was established in Long Island, New York.


In 2008, the Taipei Temple was established, under the management of Lin Yun Foundation, a Taipei registered non-profit organization founded in 2003.  Her Holiness Khadro Crystal Chu Rinpoche has served as Chairman since its establishment.


Since the early 1980’s, numerous sanctuary shrines known as Yun Shi Jing She were also set up worldwide. Most of them are actually housed in the homes of disciples’ for the purpose of local group meditations.


The Fourth and Fifth Stage of Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism seek to modernize ancient Buddhist teachings by incorporating contemporary concepts in order to interpret old-age doctrines.  It emphasizes the convergence of Buddhist spiritual practices into the realities of everyday life, rather than promoting a strict adherence to a ritualistic, reclusive and monastic life style.   His Holiness the late Grandmaster Lin Yun therefore did not encourage, nor did he oppose leaving one’s mundane life to become a monk or a nun, because he believed that leaving mundane life is only one of the ways to achieve spiritual attainment, but certainly not the only way.


His Holiness Lin Yun always encouraged the disciples of Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism to diligently pursue their professional careers in the mundane world and contribute to promoting the well-being of their communities.  He taught that disciples should pursue correct religious beliefs, foster spiritual lives through meditation and self-cultivation, assist the needy with loving hearts, avoid negative and sinful conducts, and help others in acts of compassion.


The Temple sponsors a variety of educational activities and services which include lectures, classes, workshops, retreats, and blessings. Topics ranged from Theory of Ch'i, practical approaches of I-Ching, Feng Shui, holistic healing, sacred transcendental cures, Chinese folklore, spiritual growth and meditation methods.  Until 2010, His Holiness the late Grandmaster Lin Yun led all teachings and since his passing, Her Holiness Khadro Crystal Chu Rinpoche assumed this responsibility.


Yun Lin Temple also sponsors Buddhist teachings and initiations given by high lamas and Buddhist masters, as well as lectures from scholars and professional experts.  In addition, the Temple also serves as the site for weddings and birthday celebrations.


Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism and its disciples and followers have highest regards and utmost respect for other religious faiths. The Temple welcomes everyone to participate in the activities of Yun Lin Temple, Lin Yun Monastery, Taipei Temple, and the worldwide Yun Shi Jing She shrines.