The Shangpa Student spiritually and in all ways develops further through continuing to engage in the lineage practices and teachings, and enters into a deeper level of spiritual relationship with Lama Palden.

This level of practice requires the willingness and steadfast effort to unfold one’s deep remaining psychological and spiritual issues into clear awareness and gives one the ability to joyfully move towards full actualization of one’s true nature spiritually, psychologically and physically. Devotion, gratitude, love, compassion and wisdom are the fruits of practice. Students move towards and into realization of nonduality and the integration of appearance-emptiness, bliss-emptiness and awareness-emptiness in one’s stream of being. In addition to formal practice, songs of realization and aspiration prayers from the awakened lamas of the lineages continue to inform and enliven one’s practice and enhance understanding and realization.

Shangpa Student Study and Practices
Continued study and practice occurs to deepen intellectual understanding and spiritual realization. Creation and completion stage practice at this level focuses on complete transformation and liberation of ordinary body, speech and mind to awakened body, speech, and mind. Transformation of identity and perception occurs through the process of the primary yidams of the Shangpa Lineage practices. Yidam practice joins shunyata (emptiness) understanding with manifestation of pure being. Sutra, Essence and Mantra Mahamudra provide direct pointing out instructions for the realization of true nature. Practices fuel and enhance the realization of the three kayas or form bodies of awakening. Yidam, Six Yogas, Protector and other advanced practices work with the transformation and awakening of the subtle body as well as with the mind. Students learn to turn all experience to the path, allowing the liberation of the eight worldly dharmas. Practices to actualize the four enlightened activities of pacifying, enriching, magnetizing and subduing are the fruition practices of yidam. With devotion and sincerity, students move towards liberating all fear, and the flowering of compassion, love and realization of genuine reality.

Students continue to deepen realization and stabilize the integration of shamatha and vipashyana, developing the capacity to rest in true nature throughout the day and night. Hindrances and enhancements are studied and worked with in practice and in moment to moment daily life in training.

Additional Study Topics

  • Certainty
  • Confidence
  • Buddha Families in relationship to Mahamudra


  • Mahamudra
  • Guru Yoga (Lha Shi)
  • Chöd
  • Advanced Yidam practice
  • Six Arm Mahakala (Chagdrukpa)
  • Six Yogas of Sukhasiddhi
Commitments at the Shangpa Student Level

Specific to the Shangpa Student:

  • Individual formal agreement with Lama Palden as one’s primary teacher, or as secondary teacher with approval from Lama Palden
  • Individual meeting with Lama Palden twice yearly
  • Self retreats as well as Sukhasiddhi group retreats
  • Studying and maintaining the Tantric Vows


Continuing Commitments:

  • Taking the appropriate empowerments and teachings
  • Engaging in daily meditation practice
  • Maintaining Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows
  • Developing the Paramitas:
    1. generosity
    2. ethics and manners
    3. patience
    4. joyful effort or diligence
    5. meditative concentration
    6. discriminating awareness born from wisdom
  • Lifetime dedication to one’s Samaya commitments
  • Participating in the Sukhasiddhi annual residential retreat


Membership and Service Commitments:

  • Serve when authorized and requested as mentors, practice leaders, sangha and organizational leaders and the like;
  • Engage in continuing service to the teachers, the students, and all the elements of the Sukhasiddhi Mandala; meet other similar expectations and lama-requests as they develop over time.
  • Continue membership in Sukhasiddhi
Shangpa Student Reading List


Baker, Ian. The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet
Berzin, Alexander. Chapter One in Taking the Kalachakra Initiation
Brunnhölzl, Karl. Straight From the Heart: Buddhist Pith Instructions
Buswell, Robert. Lopez, Donald., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism
Dorje, Wangchuk. Ocean of Definitive Meaning (need permission to acquire this book. Thrangu Rinpoche has one by the same name that is a commentary that is excellent, but is not the actual text by 3rd Karmapa)
Dorje, Thekchok. Kongtrul, Jamgon., Chod Practice Manual and Commentary
Dudjom Rinpoche. trans. Padmakara Translation Group., Counsels from My Heart
Edou, Jerome. Machig Labdron and the Foundations of Chod
Gyamtso, Khenpo Tsultrim., Ascertaining Certainty About the View
Harding, Sarah. Machik’s Complete Explanation: Clarifying the Meaning of Chod
Niguma, Lady of Illusion
Kalu Rinpoche. Secret Buddhism: Vajrayana Practices
Lingpa, Jigme, Patrul Rinpoche, Mahapandita, Getse. Deity Mantra and Wisdom
Namgyal, Dakpo Tashi. Clarifying the Natural State: A Principal Guidance Manual for Mahamudra
Mahamudra. The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation
Nyima, Kunkyen Tenpe., Shechen Gyaltsap IV. Vajra Wisdom: Deity Practice in Tibetan Buddhism
Padmasambhava., trans: Gyurme Dorje. The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Roberts, Peter Alan. Mahamudra and Related Instructions: Core Teachings of the Kagyu Schools
Scott, Jim trans.: Maitreya’s Distinguishing Phenomena and Pure Being
Simmer-Brown, Judith. Dakini’s Warm Breath
Stearns, Cyrus., The Buddha From Dolpo: A Study of the Life and Thought of the Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen
Trungpa, Chogyam., Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Vols 1, 2 & 3


Rabjam, Longchen., The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding
The Precious Treasury of The Basic Space of Phenomena
The Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions
The Precious Treasury of Philosophical Systems
Tulku, Urgyen., Rainbow Painting


Barron, Richard., The Autobiography of Jamgon Kongtrul: A Gem of Many Colors
Dowman, Keith., The Divine Madman: The Sublime Life and Songs of Drukpa Kunley
Drodhul, Karma., trans. Gyamtso, Yeshe., Siddhas of Ga: Remembered by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
Kongtrul, Jamgon., trans. Gyamtso, Yeshe., The Hundred Tertons
Thinley, Karma., The History of the Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet
Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenchen., The Life of Tilopa

Read songs of realization and biographies whenever possible.

To Be Read Gradually Over Time

Kongtrul, Jamgon. The Treasury of Knowledge
This is a series of books (many volumes in Tibetan). This translation project was the last project Khabje Kalu Rinpoche put together before his passing into Paranirvana: