The Shangpa Lineage

Affiliation

Our center is part of the Shangpa lineage. In Tibetan Buddhism, the concept of lineage is fundamental. The continuity of the lineage ensures the authenticity of its tradition and the preservation of its teachings. The practitioner can benefit at any moment from this flow of blessings.

The Shangpa lineage originated in the Vajradhara Buddha and two outstanding women by their ultimate spiritual achievements, Nigouma and Soukha Siddhi, in 11th century India. Kyoungpo Neldjor (977-1127), an outstanding scholar and accomplished yogi from Tibet, came to seek their teachings, as well as those of one hundred and fifty masters in India and Nepal, and realized them fully. The possession of the teachings and doctrines passed from master to disciple, without interruption and without any alteration. The Shangpa lineage is said to be a ‘secret lineage’: it had to be practiced rather than codified. It focuses especially on the practice of meditation. “Its bearers are very exceptional individuals because they are bodhisattvas at the highest level, its teachings are pure, preserved from any composition or flourish from an ordinary person, and its grace is special, it allows nowadays to ripen the achievements of ordinary practitioners preserving their solemn commitments“(Djamgoeun Kongtrul, Retreat Manual, ed Yogi Ling).

Outstanding masters have held the lineage, such as the visionary scholar yogi Tangtong Gyelpo (14th century), also physician, civil engineer (creator of the first iron hanging bridges in Tibet and Bhutan) and architect. Taranatha (1575-1634) was a great spiritual achievement that left abundant material for lineage and Shentong philosophical view. Jamgoeun Kongtrul (1813-1899) was a key figure who prevented the decline of many minor lineages. He was an essential holder in the continuity of the transmission and practice of the Shangpa lineage. From him comes the custom of the three-year retreat. This custom was introduced, particularly in France, at La Boulaye in Burgundy, by Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989) eminent master and exemplary by his obvious achievements and erudition. After Kalu Rinpoche, the leader of the lineage was Bokar Tulkou Rinpoche, grand master of meditation who died in 2004. The line was handed to Ngédeun Ténpeil Gyaltsen (born September 17, 1990), recognized as the second Kalu Rinpoche.

From the Vajradhara Buddha, the two Dakinis of wisdom and Kyoungpo Neldjor to the present Kalou Rinpoche, the Shangpa transmission lineage has remained unchanging and uncorrupted. Nowadays, Kalu Rinpoche has already conferred many times the entire Shangpa lineage on the greatest number of his pupils and disciples and has put the three-year retreat practice in the spotlight.

The Shangpa lineage has never put importance on a powerful monastic institution, its practitioners are yogis and yoginis, monks and nuns or lay faithful. After the preliminary practices, the essential practices of the lineage are those of the deities of the five tantras and the Five Golden Dharmas, including the six doctrines of Nigouma and Mahamudra. The practice of the Chadroupa protector is also very important in the Shangpa lineage.

Lignée Shangpa
La lignée Shangpa

In practice

Tradition emphasizes the need for a good level of meditative stability and spiritual intelligence. In parallel with this basis of tranquility and wisdom are learned the means to relax the egocentric seizure, developing the altruistic qualities and values of compassion and equanimity proper to the Bodhisattva.

Different techniques make it possible to acquire meditative stability. The approach taught here adopts Mahamudra view, meditation, and leadership. Spiritual intelligence, prajna, is simply the result of reflection on certain teachings. It illuminates the meditation exercises related to it.

Vajrayana, Himalayan Buddhism, includes specific practices associated with tantras. The meditation of deities and the recitation of mantras allows the spirit of the yogi or the yogini to elevate his state of consciousness. With the precise instructions of the Lama, we thus actualize wisdom in ourselves. These meditations are commonly practiced in the center of Montpellier.

The Lama, spiritual master, is the indispensable guide to instruct us in the experience of meditation. His qualification is due to his own experience of these teachings, mainly in a three-year retreat. In our center, the lamas who animate the teaching and practice sessions are all personally accredited by Kalu Rinpoche. 

Other Shangpa centers in France