Buddha Shakyamuni with Arhats (18th c) © Himalayan Art Collection

Shangpa Rinpoche

The 2nd Shangpa Rinpoche began his monastic life after official enthronement by His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Upon coming of age at 11, he was ordained in Pokhara, Nepal, by His Holiness. To this day, Rinpoche still remembers the kind advice of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa who predicted that countless sentient beings would benefit by Shangpa Rinpoche’s propagation of Dharma. His Holiness is the source of boundless inspiration and limitless strength behind Rinpoche's work.

The life of young Shangpa Rinpoche was filled with intensive studies of the ancient Buddhist rituals and scriptures. Rinpoche subsequently joined the Tibetan Higher Institute of Buddhist Studies in Varanasi, India. He mastered Buddhist philosophy, literature, poetry, history and the Sanskrit language. He received major empowerment and essential teachings from many great masters.

His teachers included His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, the 14th Shamarpa, Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche, Trulshig Rinpoche, Chogye Tri Rinpoche, Tenga Rinpoche, Khunu Rinpoche, Khenpo Richen, the late Dupsing Rinpoche, Choje Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and many others.

In 1976, at the age of 19, Shangpa Rinpoche lost his personal tutor, Venerable Dupsing Rinpoche, the founder and abbot of Jangchub Choeling Monastery in Pokhara. His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa instructed Shangpa Rinpoche to succeed as the abbot of the Monastery. This ascension marked Rinpoche's continuation of the noble aspirations of his late teacher. Motivated by his deep devotion to his guru and with the blessings of His Holiness, there has not been a day in the past 30 years when Shangpa Rinpoche has not worked for the betterment of Jangchub Choeling Monastery.

Shangpa Rinpoche has also undertaken many projects elsewhere in his ceaseless efforts to benefit all sentient beings. Some of these projects have been a continuation of efforts from his previous life while others have been initiated during this present incarnation.

Shangpa Rinpoche first set foot in Singapore in 1982. Upon the request of His Holiness Shamar Rinpoche, Rinpoche became the spiritual teacher and advisor of the Karma Kagyud Buddhist Centre in Singapore. Along with advising the followers of the Centre, he was instrumental in acquiring the current premises for the centre.

His tireless effort is mirrored in Nepal. As the abbot of Vikramashila Buddhist Institute, Shangpa Rinpoche fulfilled his vision to build an institute for higher education in Buddhist studies for members of the Sangha in Pokhara. The 1st Shangpa Rinpoche spent many years teaching in Mustang. Tharpa Choeling Nunnery was established in Muktinath with the support of the King of Mustang and devoted disciples from his previous incarnation. Deeply committed to educating the nuns, Rinpoche built a Buddhist institute for them in 2005. He recently started construction of a 35' stupa of enlightenment in Mustang to benefit more sentient beings.

Drubgyud Choeling Monastery in Lumbini was completed in 2001. To further Dharma practice, Shangpa Rinpoche sponsored the first bi-annual Kamtsang Choghar Dharma Camp at the monastery in 2003. As many as 200 practitioners from various prestigious Buddhist institutes around the world attended the camp. In 2004, Rinpoche completed the Kagyu Institute for Buddhist Studies in Kirtipur, the first school in Nepal of the Karma Kagyud tradition, where lay practitioners from around the world can study and do retreat under the guidance of famous learned Kagyud masters. Despite the recent social unrest in Nepal, the Institute is firmly committed to providing Buddhist teachings to all who seek with a sincere heart.

Shangpa Rinpoche's aspiration to help as many sentient beings as possible motivated him to organize the first World Peace Grand Prayer at the Great Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu in December of 2005. He is currently building a retreat center on a mountain peak in Pokhara for lamas engaged in retreats that last 3 years and 3 months. His tireless effort to realize his vision has won respect from all. He was appointed the President of Dharmodaya Sadha, a leading Buddhist Organization in Nepal. The Shangpa Foundation was founded, with the approval and support of the Nepalese Government, to help Rinpoche manage his numerous projects. Shangpa Rinpoche is currently heading the foundation.

Shangpa Rinpoche's Official Website: www.shangpa.org