The Founder - Shangpa Rinpoche
On the 12th September 1960, a child was born in Dolpo, a place near the borders of Nepal and Tibet. It was unknown to anyone at the time that this child was a special child; a child who would one day lead many sentient beings onto the Path of Enlightenment; a child who would one day grow up to be the inspiration of many sentient beings to be diligent in their practices, a child who would one day lead many sentient beings to pursue the Path of Enlightenment. He was recognized at the tender age of 2 to be the reincarnation of the Great Yogi Shangpa Rinpoche. The Great Yogi Shangpa Rinpoche was a disciple of the Supreme Head of the Karma Kagyud Lineage, His Holiness the 15th Gyalwa Karmapa, Khakyab Dorje.
Childhood for this reincarnate, the 2nd Shangpa Rinpoche was nothing but a series of trials and tribulations. After much hardship, he arrived in Pokhara with his mother at the age of 9. After the official recognition by His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje as the reincarnation of the Great Yogi Shangpa Rinpoche, he began his monastic life. On coming of age at 11, he was ordained in Pokhara by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. Till this day, Shangpa Rinpoche still remembers the advice and the kind words imparted to him by His Holiness the 16 th Karmapa during a visit to Rumtek. His Holiness had found Shangpa Rinpoche to be of great potential for Dharma propagation. His Holiness believed strongly that the Shangpa Rinpoche will benefit many sentient beings. The words of the late Holiness remain in his heart till this day. They are the source of limitless strength behind all works to propagate Buddha Dharma undertaken by Shangpa Rinpoche. These words are also the source of boundless inspiration to Shangpa Rinpoche in managing his numerous projects to benefit as many sentient beings as he possibly can.
Thereafter, the life of young Shangpa Rinpoche was filled with intensive studies of the ancient ritual arts and Buddhist scriptures. He was placed under the guidance of the late Venerable Dupsing Rinpoche as well as many other learned teachers. On reaching the age of 16, Rinpoche joined The Tibetan Higher Institute of Buddhist Studies in Varanasi . During the course of studies, he mastered Buddhist Philosophy, literature, poetry, history of Buddhism and the Sanskrit Language. He has also been conferred by many great teachers with important empowerments and essential teachings. These teachers include His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, His Holiness the 14th Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche, Trulshing Rinpoche, Chogye Tri Rinpoche, Tenga Rinpoche, Khunu Rinpoche, Khenpo Richen, the late Dupsing Rinpoche, Choje Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and the illustrious list goes on. Like in his past life, Rinpoche has both undertaken and completed many retreats.
At the age of 19, in the year 1976, Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche lost his teacher, Ven. Dupsing Rinpoche. Jangchub Choeling Monastery was built in 1963 by the late Dupsing Rinpoche, who was the teacher of Shangpa Rinpoche during his young age. In the beginning, there were only a handful of monks ordained in the monastery. However, the numbers started growing as many parents requested for their sons to be ordained under the late Dupsing Rinpoche. With the blessings and the gracious help of His Holiness the 16 th Karmapa, the monastery expanded. At that time, there were as many as 40 monks studying in the monastery. Those with potential, like Shangpa Rinpoche, were sent to further their studies at The Tibetan Higher Institute of Buddhist Studies in Varanasi. At that juncture of time, Rinpoche was in his 4 th year of studies. Under the instructions of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche undertook the responsibilities and position of his late teacher and became the Abbot of Jangchub Choeling Monastery in Pokhara , Nepal. Ascension to the position of Abbot of the monastery also marked the beginning of tirelessly continuing the noble aspirations of his late teacher and His Holiness. There has not been a day in the past 20 years when Shangpa Rinpoche has not worked towards the betterment of Jangchub Choeling Monastery. Upgrading and expansion of the current premises and facilities is only possible with the motivation from the words of His Holiness the 16 th Karmapa and Shangpa Rinpoche's deep guru devotion.
Besides Pokhara, Rinpoche has also undertaken many projects in his ceaseless efforts to benefit all sentient beings. In many parts of Nepal as well as parts of South East Asia and Europe , Rinpoche has many projects that are ongoing. Some of these projects are works that are a continuation of efforts from his previous life while others have been initiated during this present incarnation.
Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche first set foot in Singapore in 1982. It was upon the request of His Holiness the 14th Kunzig Sharma Rinpoche that Shangpa Rinpoche assumed the role of being the spiritual teacher and advisor of the Karma Kagyud Buddhist in Singapore . Besides teaching, advising and leading the followers of the centre, Rinpoche also played a crucial role in finding and acquiring the premises of the present centre. His tireless effort is mirrored as the abbot of Vikramashila Buddhist Institute in Nepal . It is the vision of Rinpoche to build an institute to benefit the members of the Sangha community in Pokhara; to provide them with a good environment for the pursuit of higher knowledge in Buddhism. It was established, built and completed with the donations from many devoted disciples of Shangpa Rinpoche from various parts of the world.
The 1st Shangpa Rinpoche had spent many years teaching in Mustang. Many stupas and monasteries were built by the Great Yogi to benefit all sentient beings. With the support of the King of Mustang and devoted disciples from his past incarnation, Tharpa Choeling Nunnery in Muktinath was founded and built. Deeply feeling the importance of education for the nuns, Rinpoche has plans to build an institute for the nuns to learn the philosophy of Buddhism. Construction has begun and to date, about 40 nuns are already pursuing their education in the institute and looking forward to the completion of the construction of the Institute.
Drubgyud Choeling Monastery in Lumbini is also under the care of Shangpa Rinpoche. Completion was only possible through the untiring efforts of Rinpoche and the generous support from well-wishers as well as Rinpoche's disciples. The Monastery was completed in 2001.
In 1996, The Shangpa Foundation was founded to aid Rinpoche in the management of the numerous projects under his care. With the approval and support of the Nepalese Government, Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche is currently heading the Foundation.
Shangpa Rinpoche is always in a ceaseless search of new ways of benefiting sentient beings and propagating Buddha Dharma as well as an endless pursuit of strengthening his personal practices. He has received teachings from great masters from all traditions and lineages. In 1998, he received the Drupthab Kundu initiation and transmissions from H.E. Chogye Tri Rinpoche in France. In 2001, Rinpoche attended teachings and received the oral transmissions of collections of 15 th Karmapa's teachings from Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche.
In November 2002, Rinpoche received a series of rare and extensive teachings form His Eminence Trulshig Rinpoche at Shechen Monastery in Kathmandu , Nepal. This extremely rare and precious transmission from the collection by The Great Jamgon Kongtrul is known as "The Treasury of Spiritual Instructions". It covers teachings from all major lineages and is rarely given in this modern time.
On the 28th December in 2003, Drubgyud Choeling Monastery in Lumbini hosted the first bi-annual Kamtsang Choghar Dharma Camp. It was first initiated by the Vikramashila Buddhist Institute and the Shree Divakar Buddhist Research Institute. The auspicious event was held with the motivation of propagating the Buddha Dharma, to increase awareness and widen, deepen, heighten and broaden the practices and the knowledge of practitioners of the Path. As many as over 200 practitioners from various prestigious Buddhist institutes from all over converged to share and to exchange knowledge on the Buddha Dharma. Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche took up the responsibility of being the main sponsor of this extremely auspicious event. To him, it was crucial that such an auspicious event could take place and in a place as auspicious as Lumbini, a place held sacred by Buddhists the world over.
Since the day Ven Shangpa Rinpoche was granted audience by His Holiness the 16 th Gyalwa Karmapa, he has embarked on a ceaseless journey to actualize his visions. They are visions of helping as many sentient beings as possible, they are visions of propagating Buddha Dharma to as many people as possible and to spread the benefits of practicing the Path to Enlightenment to as many as he can. Rinpoche has undertaken the building of The Kagyu Institute for Buddhist Studies in Kirtipur , Nepal . It is Nepal 's first Buddhist Institute belonging to the Karma Kagyud tradition in which lay practitioners from all over the world can take up courses in Buddhist Studies and retreat under the guidance of many learned and famous masters and Khenpos.
Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche is continuing on his journey to benefit all sentient beings and propagate the Buddha Dharma. This journey that has taken him two lifetimes and it is going to take him many more lifetimes after this to accomplish. He is currently working on building an Institute for the nuns of Tharpa Choeling Nunnery so that the nuns can receive proper education in Buddha Dharma and in turn, benefit more sentient beings and lead them onto the path of pursuing Enlightenment.