Sang-ngak Rinpoche was the third son of Chokgyur Lingpa’s daughter, Könchok Paldrön. He was considered to be the reincarnation of the Sertsa tulku in Gegyal Riwo, but Könchok Paldrön kept him at home where he served as her treasurer and cook. From his mother, he learned the entire Chokling Tersar tradition including the details of tormas and the correct tunes for all the chants.
Sang-ngak Rinpoche was a full-ordained monk and was known to be very pure in keeping his vows. After Könchok Paldrön passed away, he remained with his elder brother Samten Gyatso, serving as his personal attendant. It was from Samten Gyatso that he received the pointing-out instructions and pith instructions, and he remained devoted to his brother throughout his life. His primary practices were the Heart Essence of Samantabhadra, Kunzang Tuktik, and the Heart Essence of Chetsün. According to Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, his uncle was “a fine hidden yogi” who cultivated a low profile, although he was crucially important for the transmission of the Chokling Tersar.1The Great Tertön, p. 184.