Shang Rinpoche teaches with a style all his own. He is a man of the times while remaining faithful to the traditions which he shares so readily with his students. Few teachers are so skilled at accommodating the needs of modern individuals while maintaining the essence of the teachings. The breadth and depth of Rinpoche’s knowledge, both of the Buddhadharma and of the myriad aspects of life in the hectic media saturation of the 21st century, allows him to guide students in ways which are appropriate for the contemporary mindset, and yet promise the same results as were achieved centuries or even millennia ago, back to the time of the historical Buddha. That said, each student is a unique combination of capacity and ambition, and the key to Rinpoche's success as a mentor is his ability to work with these parameters, to bring about positive transformation within the student’s body, mind, and spirit.
From the physical aspect, Rinpoche may encourage a student to practice the relaxing, subtle motions of qigong, to circulate the energy gently throughout the body and stimulate its self-healing abilities. This kind of practice requires no belief whatsoever, just a willingness to literally go through the motions. Qigong is a kind of moving meditation which has the potential to align the body, mind, and breath into a unified whole, which may reduce stress, increase energy levels, and improve overall health. From the mental or spiritual aspect, Rinpoche as a traditional Buddhist teacher acts as a mirror to show students what aspects of their mind they need to work on if they desire to grow, to become more selfless or to gain more wisdom. The process of understanding all of one’s hang-ups, habits, and hidden idiosyncrasies can be difficult, but as with anything worth doing, the rewards of persistence are well worth the effort. A healthy mind, like a healthy body, requires exercise, and the number of meditation practices which Rinpoche can guide students to undertake is quite staggering.
Rinpoche does not teach in a mechanical way, applying the same standards and methods to each student. What you get out of your study depends largely on what you bring into it. If you bring a cup full of preconceptions, you may first have to face each one of them and empty them from your cup before Rinpoche can get to the heart of the matter. If you bring a sincere mind which is open to growth and learning, you will be taught with all the sincerity in the world to reach your fullest potential. It is said that asking a spiritual teacher a question is like ringing a bell - if you strike a bell lightly or without any skill, the resounding answer will be weak and quite possibly unclear. Yet if you can learn to sound the bell with a deliberate, confident stroke, the resounding answer will reverberate through your core and fill the entirety of space. The teachings of Rinpoche are like this. For those with whose hearts they correspond, they are life-altering remedies which ring as true as the sun is bright, permeated with all the compassion of the sages, and all the wisdom of the ages.