Beyond Ngondro: The Sukhasiddhi Shangpa Program

Beyond Ngondro: The Sukhasiddhi Shangpa Program


The 2020 Shangpa Program is a multi-year program commencing in June 2020, for students who have completed the Ngöndro practices. The Shangpa program encompasses the essence of the practice curriculum of the traditional three-year, three-month intensive Vajrayana retreat that provides the most in-depth spiritual training in the lineage. The initial program commitment if two years after which approved participants may go on to the remaining four years. This is a unique opportunity to develop a deep and profound spiritual awareness while in the midst of everyday life.

Program benefits

The Shangpa program proceeds step by step through an extraordinary set of practices that when engaged in with sincerity and with appropriate transmissions and guidance, allows

  • Transformation of one’s psychophysical system to bring us to directly experience and abide in the true nature of ourselves and all that is.
  • Liberation from one’s ignorance of the nature of reality, as well as liberatation from the unhelpful habitual patterns and conditioning that have arisen based on ignorance.
  • Recognition of the differentiation between our illusions and genuine reality, between our constructions and truth.
  • Increased resting in and “enjoyment of the view” from our direct experience, free of illusions and habitual patterns.

Program Structure

Each year, the program will start with a residential retreat for a strong grounding in the meditation practice or practices that will be focused on during that year.  Participants then do the practices daily (2-hours) on their own, with periodic interviews with Lama Palden to answer questions and discuss the process.  In addition, there will be 5 online teaching sessions during the year, and a four-day non-residential retreat.  As the program matures, there will also be self-organized group practice and self-retreats. In summary, each year will include:

  • One 7-9-day residential retreat,
  • One 4-day non-residential retreats at Sukhasiddhi Center
  • 5 online teaching sessions (two hours)
  • 4 interviews with Lama Palden
  • 2-hour personal daily meditation practice

The first year of the Sukhasiddhi Shangpa Program will start in June 2020. Important dates are below:

June 22-29, 2020: 8-day residential group retreat at Mercy Center in Burlingame  to learn initial practices and receive teachings

August 15, 2020: first two-hour online teaching session (also Nov. 17, 2020, Feb. 2, 2021, April 16, 2021, and June 8, 2021; time TBD)

September 15-October 15, 2020: First interviews scheduled (also Jan 1-31, 2021, March 15-April 15, 2021 and June 9-July 9, 2021)

May 11-14, 2021: 4-day non-residential retreat at Sukhasiddhi Center

Commitment to the Lama

An important part of vajrayana practice is the student-teacher relationship. For participation in this program, individual formal agreement with Lama Palden as one’s primary teacher is required, or as secondary teacher with approval from Lama Palden.

Program Practices

The first two years of the program will focus on advanced yidam practices that are taught after completion of Ngondro, as well as Tonglen, the Extraordinary Practices, and Lojong mind training.

The third year will introduce the Six Yogas of Sukhasiddhi, with an emphasis on the inner fire practice of Tumma.  To go into these practices, participants will need permission from Lama Palden to continue.

The fourth year will focus on the Illusory Body practice of Gyu Lu, and the Drame Yoga practice of Milam.

Year Five introduces the clear light death and dying teachings and practices of Osel, Bardo and Phowa.

In year six, participants will move into Mila Lha Drup and the Kagyu and Shangpa Mahamudra.

At the completion of the program, participants will have had a deep and profound experiences of the true nature of reality.

Program Prerequisites

What the Program will Require

The Shangpa program provides an extraordinary opportunity to receive and engage in the profound meditation practices usually only done in long retreat. But the program is rigorous, and the practices are designed to bring up deep issues that hinder or block the participants realization. Participants will most benefit who bring the following:

  • a strong, clear sense of priorities and a very real commitment to spiritual practice is needed.
  • the willingness and steadfast effort to process the psychological and spiritual issues that come up with intensive spiritual practice.
  • Ability to consciously process the issues that come up, with yourself, with other participants and with Lama Palden

This will allow for the individual’s true joy, peace, and unique qualities to manifest, and allows one to work and enjoy family life while practicing deeply.

Specific prerequesites for joining the Shangpa program are:

  • Completion of the Ngöndro practices
  • Maturity and psychological stability
  • Commitment to the first two years of the program
  • Financial ability to pay
  • Completing the online application, an interview with a lama and approval to enter the program, completion of the program agreement

Program Costs

  • The 2020-2021 fees for the Shangpa Program are:
    • Mercy Center Meals and Lodging:            $ 1,080
    • Program Tuition: retreats & class              $ 1,775
    • Four Interviews with Lama Palden:          $    840

Total for first year:                                                           $ 3,695

It is possible that the program fees will increase slightly in the second year, but any increase will be as minimal as possible

  • In addition to the program fees, participant will incur costs for:
    • Empowerments when scheduled ($25 + donation to the lama
    • Sukhasiddhi Membership: sliding scale $50-$125 per month
    • Miscellaneous charges for texts
    • Travel: out-of-town participants must arrange their own transportation, meals and lodging during the non-residential retreats.

All program fees except for lodging and meals are tax deductible.

Please note:  The commitment to the program is for two years.  As this is a small program, the program may not be able to continue if people drop out.  Therefore joining the program will require a commitment to participate for two years.

A deposit of $200 is required at the time of your application to the program. This deposit will be applied to your first payment(s) of the program fees. Program fees may be paid in 1 payment, 4 payments, or monthly. Multi-payment plans must be paid via automatic charge to a credit or debit card.

Amount Due
 Deposit with Application

Mercy Center Lodging & Meals-Balance Due



By April 15th

May 1, 2020

 A. Program Fees – 1 Payment $2,615 June 1, 2020

B. Program Fees – 1 of 4 Payments

$655 June 1, 2020
 B. Program Fees – 2 of 4 Payments $655 Sept 1, 2020
 B. Program Fees – 3 of 4 Payments $655 Jan 1, 2021
 B. Program Fees – 4 of 4 Payments $655 April 1, 2021

C. Program Fees – Monthly (automatic CC)

$220 June ’20 – May ’21

Application Process

Application deadline is March 15, 2020.

If you are interested in joining the program, please complete the online application, and we will then follow up with you for payment of the deposit, and set up a time for a phone interview with a program lama.  Following the interview, you will be notified of acceptance into the program..  Sukhasiddhi administration will review with you the program costs and requirements,  and ask you to sign a program agreement.

Application Procedures:

  1. Complete the application: click here
  2. We will email you that your application has been received and ask you to pay the $200 deposit
  3. We will set up a phone interview with a program lama
  4. Have the interview
  5. We will email your acceptance into the program, and review the program logistics and payment options.

Thank you very much!  If you have questions, please email

Apply Here