Yang Lin was from Zhangdefu. He had a round head, large ears, straight nose and squarish mouth, beautiful eyes and a narrow waist with broad shoulders. He was often armed with an iron spear and was nicknamed 'Multi-coloured leopard' (锦豹子).
He became an outlaw and got to know Gongsun Sheng by chance. Once, Dai Zong went to visit Gongsun Sheng and met Yang Lin. They travelled together and passed by Yinma River. There, Dai Zong managed to persuade the bandits at Yinma River (Pei Xuan, Deng Fei and Meng Kang) to join the Liangshan band.