Shangpa, Shang-pa

Tib., shangs pa

One of the two original schools that gave rise to the Kagyudpa tradition, Shangpa was more or less officially founded around 1050 by Khyungpo Naljor (khyung-po nyal-jor, 978-1079 or 1002-1064).

Already coming from a Bön and Dzogchen background himself, Khyungpo Naljor did receive the school’s major teachings through initiations by two Indian adepts: the yogini Mahasukhasiddhi (Skt., Adept of Great Bliss), and the female siddha Niguma; the latter of which imparted to him alone her most secret knowledge; among which visualizations and sexual secrets.

Apart from Niguma's text entitled Mahamudra as Spontaneous Liberation, the school's teaching and practice is centered around the so-called Five Tantras (Mahakala-, Chakrasamvara-, Hevajra-, Mahamaya-, and Guhyasamaja Tantra), and the Five Golden Doctrines of the Shangpas (Tib., shangs pa gser chos lnga); a group of teachings envisioned as forming a tree:

  1. root: Niguma's Nigu Chosdrug (rtsa ba ni gu chos drug)
  2. trunk: Amulet-box Precept of Mahamudra (phyag chen ga'u ma)
  3. branches: Three Ways of Carrying Realisation on the Path (yal kha lam khyer rnam gsum)
  4. flowers: Red and White Khecari (me tog mkha' spyod dkar dmar)
  5. fruit: Deathlessness and Non-deviation ('bras bu 'chi med chugs med)

The Shangpa school, one of the so-called eight practice lineages, is still being continued, recently by the late Kyab-je Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989) - and presently by his new incarnation, Yangsi Kalu Rinpoche (born 17-09-1990).