Shang Rinpoche (1123-1193)

Shang Yudrakpa Tsondru Drakpa, also known as Gungthang Lama Shang or simply Shang Rinpoche, was a highly accomplished master prophesied by Buddha Shakyamuni. Shang Rinpoche was also a mind emanation of Padmasambhava.

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Shang Rinpoche's birthplace, Tibet

Lama Shang had studied under 44 teachers of whom 6 were his root masters. In particular, he studied briefly under Gampopa and had received the full Kagyu lineage from Gompo Tsultrim Nyingpo or Gomstul (Gampopa's nephew and lineage heir). Gomstul also entrusted Shang with the responsibility of maintaining peace in Lhasa and restoring holy sites including the Jokhang Temple.

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Gungthang temple, Tibet


Shang Rinpoche founded the Tsalpa Kagyu lineage and constructed numerous monasteries including Tsal Gungthang just a short distance north of Lhasa. Lama Shang was renowned for his teachings of Mahamudra and his profound instructions have been passed down through generations of achieved practitioners until the present day. Due to his extraordinary achievement and legendary influence, Shang Rinpoche is also known as one of the “Three Jewels of Tibet”.

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Shang Rinpoche's footprints


In 1193, many auspicious signs accompanied Shang Rinpoche's parinirvana (passing). His body could not be lit by ordinary fire, but was instead cremated by his own inner wisdom fire. Moreover, his eyes, tongue and heart remained completely intact and fused together. This precious relic was housed in the stupa that had previously been constructed by Shang Rinpoche himself.

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Shang Rinpoche's stupa at Tsal Gungthang